|Fig.1: More like Catherine |
the Great Cross-dresser!
But let's start a little farther back in Madagascar's history. In the breakup of Gondwana 135 million years ago, Madagascar split from the supercontinent along with the landmass today known as India. Tectonic shifts allowed Madagascar to then form its own island over the next 50 million years, creating a diverse ecosystem that...
Okay, I'm even boring myself right now with this crap. Let's go a bit further ahead.
As his robotic army closed in on the Malagasy capital of Antananarivo, the very last stronghold of the Resistance, Emperor Donald Trump VII laughed maniacally and unfurled his blueprints for the largest casino/victory monument the world!
Whoa, okay! Too far ahead! Let's scale this back a century or five.
In the late 18th century Anno Doughnutty, the Merina Kingdom began their conquest over the entirely of the island. The ruler of the time was King Andrianampoinimerina, who already succeeded in uniting the majority of the alphabet under his name, and was looking to do the same for all the peoples of Madagascar. His son and successor, Radama I, continued this policy, and was having a good ol' time until some unexpected guests showed up. Both the British and the French were looking to establish a base on Madagascar so they could easily keep on eye on their colonies (or as I like to call them, "Exploitation Stations") in Africa and India. Radama found the British demeanor pleasantly upbeat and sophisticated, while he detested the French's inherent snootiness and brie-flavored breath; as such, he signed a treaty with the Brits in 1817 allowing their admittance to the island, in return for military protection. Naturally, missionaries poured in and just couldn't help teaching the population about Jesus Christ and his ability to turn food into other food. By the time of Radama's death in 1828, several Christian schools were established on the island, and even the humblest of Madagascar's citizens came to enjoy their tea with crumpets.
|Fig.2: Queen Ranavalona I, |
notable for her staunch face,
broad shoulders, and what
Jerry Seinfeld would call
In order to retain her hold on power, Ranavalona had to marry a bunch of Malagasy military generals and political strongheads over the course of her reign. She figured that if cooking a few meals and doing some laundry for a bunch of oldies would allow her to keep the throne, then "get me a spatula and washing board!" Of course upon Ranavalona's death in 1861, those ambitious men would get tired of waiting around for their beef ravioli, and take power for themselves. While Ranavalona's son, Radama II, was king after his mother's passing, power really lay in the hands of two aristocratic brothers: Rainivoninahitriniony and Rainilaiarivony (unfortunately for my typing fingers, their other brother, simply named Ron, didn't have the same political inclinations). Rainivoninahitriniony had Radama II strangled when he wasn't being compliant enough, and Rainilaiarivony married Radama's wife and successor, Rasoherina, in order to keep her under his thumb. Seriously Madagascar, enough with the R-names!
|Fig.3: While Ranavalona II had |
a similar face to your Uncle
Lou, she was actually very
Ranavalona II's death in 1883 left a void in the kingdom when it was most vulnerable. The British and the French were circling the island like vultures, small rebellions sprang up against Merina rule, and Madagascar needed to submit a representative to defend their title in the Women's International Beer Can Crushing Competition. Rainilaiarivony went door to door with a glass slipper to see who was the perfect fit to run the kingdom, disqualifying those who resorted to sawing off their toes (which was unfortunately cut from the Disney version of Ranavalona). A young widower named Razafindrahety was chosen (you guys just can't give the letter "R" a break, can you?), and she was renamed Ranavalona III.
|Fig.4: One of Ranavalona III's |
weaknesses was lack of taste-
buds, which explains why
she would endorse the
chalky shortbread monstrosities
that are Petit Beurre cookies.
Madagascar just hasn't been the same since the lack of Ranavalonas to lead them. They were consistently taken advantage of by French during the colonial period, who stole all of their resources, and made them fight on their side in two world wars while sporting those god-awful berets and disgusting thin moustaches. Even though they achieved independence in 1960, we have seen more coups, uprisings, and constitutional changes come out of Madagascar than an average Guns N' Roses concert. What the country needs now are the touches of the three queens: Ranavalona I to threaten the crap out of them and set them straight, Ranavalona II to provide a gentle hand and look out for their wellbeing, and Ranavalona III to become a strong role model and successfully promote Madagascar's main exports, like coffee, vanilla, and shellfish. ("I promise, our oysters won't make you mad, give you gas, or scar you for life!") For the sake of the island, let's hope a Ranavalona IV appears before Madagascar 4 hits theaters, because that will be a event of unspeakable horror.