Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Wicked Witch of Madagascar

Meet Queen Ranavalona I, reigning monarch over Madagascar from 1828 to 1861. Seems pleasant enough, doesn’t she?

I learned of Ranavalona through Sarah Bunting’s review of the book The Most Evil Women in History, which in turn led me to the page to see exactly who made the cut. I’d never heard of Ranavalona, who is sometimes referred to today as “the female Caligula” — and for good reason. Ranavalona didn’t care for Christians much, and her Wikipedia page notes some instances of especially cruel treatment of them.
Some were trussed up like chickens and thrown from hilltops repeatedly until they died. Others were dressed in the bloody skins of animals and had hunting dogs set upon them. Some were yoked together like cattle and placed in the thick tangled jungles of Madagascar where they would break their necks trying to get free, get caught in the undergrowth and starve to death, or be eaten by beasts. One of Ranavalona’s favorite methods of execution was to have a prisoner placed in a pit at the bottom of a hill and have her soldiers, at the top of the hill, tip over pots of boiling water; when the water reached the pit, it would slowly rise up and boil the prisoner alive.
In short, she’s a peach.

Wikipedia also notes, however, that though the history books mark her name as Ranavalona, her full name was Rabodoandrianampoinimerina, which I have to say is a hard name for any child to deal with, even those destined to rule an entire island and torture half its population to death. Perhaps if she have been given something that rolls more easily off the tongue, she might have spared a few more.

Yes, name is destiny and this little history lesson constitutes another edition of my “Ha Ha — This Person’s Name” series.

Since I’m on the subject of names being a good indicator of how one will fare in life, I might as well mention another person whose parents seem to have pushed him in a specific direction: alleged murderer Dalcapone Alpaccino Morris. Thank Sanam for the submission and encourage her to keep an eye out for future gems.


  1. She sort of looks like Margert Dumont in the painting, that said, I like her style...what's wrong with trussing up Xtans and tossing them to the dogs? No, I kid, I kid.

  2. Anonymous10:53 AM

    Her name is actually Closer Johnson.

  3. Anonymous10:54 AM

    Whoops. Wrong story.

  4. To say that I live in a world where I think christianity is protected would be an overstatment, however, to hear the horrors of what some went through makes me feel like the believers in todays society where its not at all hard to declare yourself which ever religion your like should stop taking thier freedoms for granted and start remember the gift that we've been given.

  5. She may have been cruel to Christians, but in all fairness, the Christians have been extremely cruel to other religious and ethnic groups. Not that I'm saying Queen Rabodoanikjhskfhuiseyio8weyr83yr8iois is justified in her actions, but still.

  6. Anonymous7:40 AM

    u r just a piece of trash, mocking and deriding a sovereign who tried to defend their country and people. go shit and eat a dick

  7. Anonymous: Seriously? This is the fight you want to pick? I normally don't respond to anonymous commenters who leave notes like this, but I'm actually so baffled by your logic here that I'm unable to do anything else but continue to be baffled. First off, what the hell is wrong with mocking a monarch? People do it all the time. Second, this particular monarch is long dead. I seriously doubt she cares that I had anything to say about her. Thirdly, I'm not mocking her to any serious extent; I'm simply saying that her name full is hard to pronounce --- and I'm sure it is to anyone unfamiliar with the languages of Madagascar --- and then, as an aside, noting that her methods of torture seem cruel. I didn't say she didn't get the job done. Clearly, she did. But I'd criticize any ruler who resorted to such cruel methods against any group in any place and time ever. Torture is one of the worst acts people can commit against each other.

    If your comment was knocking me for making light of a foreign person's name just because it's foreign and I was approaching it from a white, American, Anglophone perspective, then I'd actually admit you have a point. But this is not what you're saying. You're saying that I'm "trash" and should "shit and eat a dick" because I bothered to point out that this ruler tortured people.

    Your point is indefensible. You have only proven that you didn't think about this matter to any great extent before you left your comment.

    You have my permission to never read my blog again.

  8. Anonymous1:00 PM

    why cant we be frends ??
    i joke i joke buhht i do agreee with the other dude because
    if your going to make an article about somebody who was clearly historic dont mok them..
    they are historic for a reason
    so get oyur shyt straight or quit making blogs
    that simple

    buht as for her actions i do not agree with
    i am a christian my self but even in that case i believe that everybody does things for a reason
    not to justify what she did
    but yeah

  9. Anonymous5:50 AM

    She was the queen post of the roof timbers, but dry rot had set in.