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Old 28th February 2021, 06:14 PM   #11
Jim McDougall
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Originally Posted by colin henshaw

Extract from "The History of Mankind" by F Ratzel, 1896 and another extract from "The British Museum Handbook to the Ethnographical Collections", 1910 :-
Excellent references Colin! well support your observation regarding 'swords' and Madagascar.
While Madagascar is one of the larger islands in the world, it was remote and only tribally populated until about the 18th century. Tribal cultures typically have the spear as a primary weapon, which serves both for hunting and warfare. Most tribal cultures, especially in isolated context, have not had inclinations toward the sword, unless incidentally by exposure to outside cultures. Even then, the sword is seen more as a curiosity and an item of prestige more than an actively used weapon form.

As a maritime replenishing station, it was visited by vessels frequently, especially as well known in the golden age of piracy 17th into 18th c.
With this of course, these kinds of instances would have provided certain types of weapons and tools of European styles in limited degree, but there would not been any sort of native production of these. Naturally, limited forging of smaller metal tools or weapons is always possible in these native cultures.

It seems the early inhabitants populating the island were of Indonesian origin, coming from the Malay peninsula by outrigger, but this must have been an arduous journey as open sea voyage of that distance would have been impossible in those times. With this, it does not seem that any sort of regular contact would have been likely in earlier times, so any steady or ongoing Indonesian influence would not seem the case. However trade from western India to East Africa was well known and with Arab trade networks so that source for influences may well have had presence.
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