The French invaded Madagascar in 1895 and set up a colonial administration. Queen Ranavalona III was sent into exile in Algeria in 1897, effectively ending the monarchy. Foreign settlers and companies appropriated land for coffee plantations and established an agricultural based economy. The French held Madagascar continuously, except for a brief period of British occupation during WW II. A major revolt was crushed in 1947 at the cost of many thousands of Malagasy lives (possibly as many as 80,000).
Madagascar underwent a peaceful transition to independence in 1960. Philibert Tsiranana, the first president, gradually became more oppressive. He crushed a revolt in the country's south in 1972. . He resigned soon after and handed power to army commander, General Gabriel Ramantsoa.
By the late 1970s Madagascar had severed all ties with France and the government was seriously courting communist nations. Ratsiraka won re-election in March 1989 under dubious circumstances, which led to riots. The early 90s was plagued by civil unrest. After a four-year rule by Professor Albert Zafy that failed to unite the country, Ratsiraka was voted back into power in 1996. Growing opposition to Ratsiraka led to the popularity of Marc Ravalomanana, the mayor of Antananarivo. Presidential elections in December 2001 were inconclusive, with both Ratsiraka and Ravalomanana claiming victory. Ravalomanana declared himself president in February 2002 and set up shop in the capital of Antananarivo. Ravalomanana soundly defeated the fragmented opposition in elections in December 2002, thus securing the legitamacy of his government
Royal Era - Prior to 1894
Order or Cross of Merit (1861-1863)
Other Notable Royal Medals:
French Colonial Period 1894-1960
The NOSSI-BE bar was issued to the French soldiers, who put down the Sakalave Revolt in 1849. The MADAGASCAR bar was issued to those who participated in the 1883-1886 and 1894-1895 Expeditions and again to those who helped quell the 1949 Revolt.
Other French Colonial Medals: