On 15 June 1845, three men-of-war (two French and one British) attacked the fort and town of Tamatave in Madagascar. The attack has been described as Britainâ€™s shortest war, but in reality was an unsuccessful punitive action taken to show displeasure at the Hova authorityâ€™s laws and treatment of European subjects.
The British governmentâ€™s attention was firstÂ drawn to Madagascar in 1817, when it wasÂ in competition with France to gain influence with the authorities. Radama, king of the Hovas (one of the main tribes on the island), claimed sovereignty over the wholeÂ island and concluded a treaty with the British, in which heÂ undertook to supress the slave trade in exchange forÂ an annual payment. With the signing of the treaty, friendlyÂ relationsÂ developed between the two countries and many British subjects visited the island. Continue reading »