From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty
Kingdom of the Sackalava

Fanjakan Sakalava
c. 1550–1949
StatusBritish protectorate (1883–1949)
Islam • Ancestor worship • Protestantism
• Established
c. 1550
• Disestablished
CurrencyVolla • British pound (₤)

Sackalava ([sɑkə.lɑvə]), formally the Kingdom of the Sackalava or from 1883 the Protectorate of the Sackalava, was a country located on the island of Madagascar. Its origins lay with the 17th-century Maroserana dynasty (a.k.a. the Volamena). Marosenara lands came under British suzerainty in the late 19th century. In the 1940s, the Marosenara kingdoms gained independence and were shortly thereafter integrated into the new Malagasy National Republic.


Commonly thought to have originated with migrants from the Kingdom of Mutapa in modern-day Rozvi, the Sackalava Marosenara dynasty emerged as a prominent power in the southwest of Madagascar in the 1550s. From the mid-17th century, they embarked on a campaign of conquest up along the western coast of the island under the leadership of King Andriandahifotsy. The most powerful states established by the Marosenara were the Menabe and the Boina kingdoms. Due to the depopulation of the region due to decades of war, the Sackalava kingdoms began slave raids into the interior of the island — these slaves were commonly sold to either European or Arab merchants.

In 1674, the French abandoned their port city of Fort-Dauphin on the southeastern tip of the island. Over two decades later in 1697, the British capture the town, which is thereafter popularly known as Tulacknarrow. In 1731, the southwestern port town of Saint-Augustine is resurrected by a group of English settlers. These two towns would later come to be considered the foundation of the British presence on the island. During the Anglo-Dutch Union, Dutch vessels from the Cape frequently visited the Sackalava kingdoms.

By the start of the 18th century, the appellation 'Sackalava' was widely adopted by all subjects of the Marosenara dynasty as the true Sackalava ethnicity (the 'Sakalava ny Sakalava') and language were all but assimilated into the Malagasy mainstream. By 1800, the Sackalava kingdoms had by far become the most powerful on the island of Madagascar, dominating the slave trade and subjugating the vast majority of states, tribes, and confederations on the western coast. After the conclusion of the Anglo-Omani War in 1882 and the slow disintegration of the Indian Ocean slave trade, the British Empire forcibly placed the Marosenara kingdoms under their supervision.

In 1949, pan-Malagasy national republicans backed by Kirignaga-Loloue successfully overthrew British imperial rule in Sackalava, merging it with the eastern half of the island formerly known as the French colony of Sainte-Lucie.

List of leaders

See also