(ORDO NEWS) — History is full of men and women – world leaders who became famous thanks to their tyrannical and inhuman desire for domination. Some of them even killed many people in their unquenchable thirst for absolute power.
However, few of them have ever come close to the degree of cruelty and sadism displayed by one female ruler. Her name was Queen Ranavalona I, and she ruthlessly ruled the island nation of Madagascar off the coast of South Africa for more than three decades from 1828 to 1861.
Although she somehow escaped the notoriety that other despotic rulers have received, she convincingly proves to be the most bloodthirsty woman in history, responsible for millions of deaths.
Ramavo becomes Ranavalona I
Born in 1778 to relatively simple parents, Ranavalona I, also known as Ramavo and Ranavalo-Manjaka I, began her inglorious life when her father overheard a plot to assassinate the country’s king. Her father promptly reported this to the king, who subsequently thwarted the plot.
In response, the grateful and grateful king rewarded the Ramavo family by betrothing her to his heir to the throne, Radama. In 1810, Radama ascended the throne, accompanied by Ramavo. Unfortunately, this marriage was unhappy and did not result in the birth of an heir.
Following the custom of the office, King Radama proceeded to methodically “eliminate” his opponents and potential dissenters. Much to the chagrin of Ramavo, among the “destroyed” were members of her family.
This further aggravated their already troubled marriage and may have provided a significant impetus for Ramavo’s further actions. Radama died in 1828 without an heir. By law, Rakotobe, the educated son of Radama’s elder sister, was next in line of succession.
Despite managing to stay out of the public eye for the last few years of Radama’s reign, Ramavo was preoccupied with the conspiracy. She wanted the throne for herself and, with the support of a few powerful and wealthy supporters, staged a coup d’état. This plan was carefully designed by Ramavo and met with little or no resistance. Subsequently, Ramavo took the name of Ranavalona I and became queen.
Queen Ranavalona I – Cruel beginning
The new queen was strong and ruthless from the start. At her coronation, she made her intentions clear:
Never say, “She is just a weak and ignorant woman, how can she manage such a huge empire?” I will rule here, for the happiness of my people and the glory of my name! I will not worship any gods other than the gods of my ancestors. The ocean will be the border of my kingdom, and I will not yield even a hair of my kingdom!
One of her first acts was to identify and destroy potential threats (both legitimate and imaginary) to her throne. The purge began with Ranavalona I systematically capturing and executing family members of the late King Radama. She was essentially taking revenge for what her ex-husband had done to her own family two decades before.
Early in Ranavalona’s reign, the cold-blooded queen made it clear that her country was self-sufficient. She had every intention of maintaining that self-sufficiency. In addition, she will never allow “outsiders” to undermine the ancient system of culture and laws.
This announcement did not bode well for the growing number of Christian missionaries who have been visiting the island for several decades. Ranavalona I warned against the influence of outsiders on her subjects.
They [Christians] rejected me, so I reject them. They rejected me. I reject them.
Perhaps she did not fully believe that her power was sufficient to ensure the obedience of her subjects. So, in 1835, she officially banned Christianity on the island. Eventually, Ranavalona’s paranoia extended to ALL foreign interventions, particularly the British and French.
Ranavalona I: The Woman of Caligula
Ranavalona I’s three-decade reign of terror was directed not only against foreign invaders. Her own people also suffered the brunt of her ruthlessness. Her subjects were often subjected to her wrath for the most trifling offenses. Resourceful in her methods of cruelty, Ranavalona I regularly exposed criminals:
– Hanging. The perpetrators faced many days of hanging over sheer cliffs, and their relatives were forced to watch as the rope became more and more frayed until it unwound, sending the victim into the abyss.
– Boiling, burning and burying alive. Countless thousands of suspected criminals were subjected to these medieval methods, witnessed by friends and relatives, as a warning from Ranavalona.
– Decapitation. In one well-documented case, Queen Ranavalona I had the beheaded heads of captured French soldiers impaled on stakes along the island’s beaches to serve as another warning to the French who might be planning an invasion.
– Poisoning. Queen Ranavalona randomly administered fidelity tests by injecting poison into the test subjects. Not surprisingly, few “test subjects” survived.
– Brutal forced labor. Often on a whim, the Queen would unexpectedly order unrealistic building projects using thousands of unfortunate natives or captured captives.
According to conservative estimates of experts, during the 33-year reign of Queen Ranavalona I, from 50 to 75% of the population of Madagascar died untimely due to war, disease, or the queen’s barbaric and ruthless justice system. The at least 2.5 million deaths attributed to Ranavalone I earned the title of “The World’s Deadliest Woman”.
After her death in 1861, a nine-month period of mourning began in Madagascar.
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