The Decline of the Malagasy Textile Industry, c. 1800–1895

  • Gwyn Campbell
Part of the Palgrave Series in Indian Ocean World Studies book series (IOWS)


It is conventionally thought that cheap mass-produced cloth emanating from European and North American factories, assisted by falling transport costs, undermined indigenous textile production in the non-western world. This chapter, which examines nineteenth-century Imerina, in Madagascar, suggests that textile production in Merina-dominated regions in the central highlands and eastern littoral remained vibrant until the time of the Britanno-Merina Treaty of 1820. Subsequently, traditional cotton textile production was steadily undermined, primarily due to the Merina regime’s generalized imposition of fanompoana (unremunerated forced labour for the state), which impoverished the masses and forced women, the backbone of traditional textile production, into other activities


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Gwyn Campbell
    • 1
  1. 1.McGill UniversityMontréalCanada

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