The Serial Killing Queen of Madagascar
A Queen Can be just as Bloodthirsty as a King
‘She is certainly one of the proudest and cruel women on the face of the earth, and her whole history is a record of bloodshed and deeds of horror.’
– Ida Pfeiffer (explorer)
Ranavalona I (1778 – 1861) was the infamous ruler of the Madagascar Kingdom of Merina. When Queen Ranavalona I. suspected someone of disloyalty, she invited them to a “meal” consisting of three servings of chicken skin and a dose of poison from the tangena tree. If the guest regurgitated all of the chicken, he was absolved of the alleged crime. But if the accused failed to vomit up all three pieces of skin, or keeled over dead, guilt was established and the survivor was hauled off … for execution.
Once upon a time in the Indian Ocean, there was a magical land called Madagascar located off the south east coast of Africa. This lush, ravishingly beautiful tropical island, ‘a paradise on earth’ which is now known mainly for its vanilla beans and cuddly cartoon animals, was teeming with vast tracks of rain forest and rich arable land. But there was a serpent in this Garden of Eden, and her name was Ranavalona. In her 33 year reign, she proved to be just as ruthless and cruel as any male tyrant that had sat on a throne. She established a reign of terror in the name of preserving its traditions and independence which resulted in the death of more than a 1/3 of her subjects.