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An Empire in the Indian Ocean: the Sakalava Empire of Madagascar

Hooper, Jane Louise (2010)
Dissertation (296 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Crais, Clifton C
Committee Members: Eltis, David ; Margariti, Roxani
Research Fields: History, African
Keywords: African history; Madagascar; Sakalava; trade; early modern; Indian Ocean history; World history
Program: Laney Graduate School, History
Permanent url:


An Empire in the Indian Ocean: the Sakalava Empire of Madagascar
By Jane Louise Hooper
The dissertation argues that leaders in Madagascar used violence to dominate
global trade during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Chapters in An Empire in
the Indian Ocean
describe how coping with new trading opportunities led to increasingly
coercive forms of acquisition and domination, as well as the creation of the first
expansive empire in the East African region. The dissertation uses maritime records from
European trading companies to reveal how the Sakalava monopolized the movement of
commodities within Madagascar. In the wake of new resource demands, the shores of
Madagascar became important supply stations for European vessels crossing the oceans.
Sakalava kings and queens controlled the trade of cattle, slaves, and rice through the use
of force. They also formed alliances with other states throughout the island. As European
interest in the resources of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean increased during the
eighteenth century, the Sakalava Empire came under attack by rival empires. These rivals
cut off Sakalava expansion on both land and sea. By the close of the nineteenth century,
the empire had crumbled and being Sakalava no longer meant subjection to a certain king
or ruler. Instead, it represented a way of seeing the world and understanding the past, as
well as the future.

An Empire in the Indian Ocean: the Sakalava Empire of Madagascar
Jane Louise Hooper
B.A., Grinnell College, 2003
Advisor: Clifton Crais, Ph.D.
A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the
James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies of Emory University
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
in History

Table of Contents


Introduction: Globalization and the Sakalava Empire

1. On the Shores of the Onilahy

2. Imperial Beginnings

3. Negotiating for Slaves

4. Sakalava Expansion, c. 1730-1800

5. European Fleets in the Indian Ocean

6. Sakalava "Pirates"

7. The Decline of the Sakalava Empire?




application/pdf Dissertation/Thesis 296 pages (1.9 MB) [Access copy of Dissertation/Thesis]
Supplemental Files
application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document Introduction - final.docx (170.5 KB) [Introduction]
application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document Chapter 1.docx (297.5 KB) [Ch 1]
application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document Chapter 2.docx (185.3 KB) [ch 2]
application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document Chapter 3.docx (76.4 KB) [ch 3 ]
application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document Chapter 4.docx (69.9 KB) [ch 4]
application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document Chapter 5.docx (137.7 KB) [ch 5]
application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document Chapter 6.docx (153.6 KB) [ch 6]
application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document Chapter 7.docx (165.4 KB) [ch 7]
application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document Conclusion.docx (24.8 KB) [conclusion]
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