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Kathleen Sheldon

the last queen of the Merina Empire in Madagascar (r. 1883–1897), was born Princess Razafindrahety, daughter of Andriantzimianatra, and was educated by Protestant missionaries. She first married Ratrimo, a nobleman who died in 1883. Later that year the ruling Queen Ranavalona II died, and Razafindrahety was named queen, taking the name Ranavalona III. She followed the pattern of the previous queens by marrying the prime minister, Rainilaiarivony, who was the actual ruler and a leading convert to Christianity.

Despite her limited ceremonial role, Ranavalona III was involved in the maneuvering that led to the French conquest of Madagascar. She signed a treaty with France in 1885 that gave the French certain rights and concessions and led to the declaration of a French protectorate over the entire island Though she sent gifts to US President Grover Cleveland seeking American help in fending off French interests the United States ...


Hanna Rubinkowska

empress of Ethiopia (r. 1916–1930), was born Askala Maryam on 29 April 1876 in Inewari, the third and youngest child of Emperor Menilek II. Her mother, Abchiw of Wello, was one of Menilek ‘s consorts. Zewditu’s birth caused Menilek’s wife at the time, Bafena, to take military action against her husband.

As a child, Zewditu stayed at her father’s court under the care of Bafena. In 1882 when she was six she married the son of Emperor Yohannes IV Ras Araya Sellase who was about thirteen years old The marriage was arranged for political reasons as it was meant to bind the interests of the then king of Shewa Menilek with those of Yohannes and was related to the taking of Wello Province from Menilek by the emperor who then gave it to Ras Araya These northern domains played a role in the ties linking Zewditu with the ...