||The first comprehensive economic history of pre-colonial Madagascar,
this study examines the island's role from 1750 to 1895 in the context of a burgeoning international economy
and the rise of modern European imperialism.
This study reveals that the Merina of the Central Highlands attempted to found an island empire
and through the exploitation of its human and natural resources build the economic
and military might to challenge British and French pretensions in the region. Ultimately,
the Merina failed due to imperial forced labour policies and natural disasters,
the nefarious consequences of which (disease; depopulation; ethnic enmity)
have in traditional histories been imputed to external capitalist and French colonial policies.
The author, Professor Gwyn Campbell, is Canada Research Chair in Indian Ocean World History,
and Director of the Indian Ocean World Centre, at McGill University in Montréal.|