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Betsimisaraka people

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Regions with significant populations
East coast of Madagascar[1]

(Malagasy Northern Betsimisaraka) [2]

Related ethnic groups

other Malagasy people

The Betsimisaraka make up approximately fifteen percent of the Malagasy people and are the second largest group in Madagascar after the Merina.[1]


The name was established by a leader called Ratsimilaho who was alleged to be the son of a Malagasy princess and an English pirate.[3] He established the Betsimisaraka after driving out the clans who had invaded from the south. He had been given the right to lead the disparate groups as one fighting force, but after his death in 1750 his Queen, Bity, and then his son ended up losing the power that Ratsimilaho had once commanded.


Betsimisaraka girl

The Betsimisaraka area has included the port of Toamasina, Fénérive Est and Maroansetra. The territory today is a thin area of land that stretches along the east coast of Madagascar from the River Bemarivo to the River Mananjary in the south.


  1. ^ a b Madagascar: A Country Study, Helen Chapin Metz, ed. Library of Congress, 1994., accessed 14 August 2008
  2. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. Online, accessed 14 August 2008
  3. ^ Ratsimilaho, Encyclopædia Britannica, accessed 13 August 2008
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