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Located in the southwestern Indian Ocean, the island of Madagascar has experienced a number of wars throughout its history, the most serious of which originated in colonialism and European imperialism. Until European colonial powers significantly increased their presence in the Indian Ocean during the 18th century, warfare on Madagascar had mainly consisted of small-scale wars between rival chiefdoms.

Slave-Raiding Expeditions and Imerina Expansionist Warfare

From the mid-18th century on, the formation of plantation economies on the Mascarene and Seychelles Islands—both controlled by France—led to a substantial increase in the demand for slave labor around the western Indian Ocean. To benefit from the slave trade, the Malagasy states of Sakalava and Betsimisaraka, both located in the northern part of the island, began to conduct maritime slave-raiding expeditions in ...

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