Antananarivo is introduced in the Brave New World expansion pack.
Musical Theme Inspiration: ?
Unlike most capitals in southern Africa, Antananarivo was already a major settlement before the arrival of the Europeans. It served as the seat of the Hova chieftains, having been founded c. 1625 AD; it took its name, "City of the Thousand," from the number of soldiers reputed to guard it. Between 1689 and 1725, Madagascar was a pirate haven, and the capital city grew rich on booty and plunder paid for shelter and protection. By 1793, when it served as seat of the Merina kings who controlled all Madagascar, it was a city of about 80,000. It was the commercial center of the island; Antananarivo's thriving economy was fueled by the export of tobacco and leather goods, most bound for Europe and India.
Antananarivo was captured by French troops in 1895 AD and forcibly incorporated into their Madagascar protectorate. The new French administrators commenced an extensive rebuilding program. Under the relatively benign French rule, the city grew to 175,000 inhabitants by 1950. Along with two forts, schools and a university, parks, paved roads and paths, and a water system, the French also constructed churches - today there are some 5000 church buildings in the city and its suburbs. In 1955, it was made an archdiocese of the Catholic Church.
In 1947, with their prestige and military presence at low ebb due to World War II, the French suppressed a bloody revolt by Malagasy nationalists; between 80,000 and 90,000 died in the year-long fighting. The French subsequently instituted wide reforms under the Loi Cadre, which provided for a peaceful transition to independence for the country. Following the creation of the republic, Antananarivo was made the capital. Bolstered by lucrative industries producing food, cigarettes and textiles, the city modernized rapidly. With nearly two million citizens today, Antananarivo is one of Africa's wealthiest cities.