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  • Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland

     

  • NEWS

  • 6 May 2013

    One of the main streets in the capital of Madagascar is named after Count Maurycy Beniowski. Thanks to a Polish association and support from Polish diplomats, the 17th-century traveller and member of the Bar Confederation, hailed by Madagascar’s inhabitants as their king, now also has a commemorative plaque in the city.

     

    Poland’s "king” of Madagascar rememberedThe new plaque commemorating the extremely vibrant figure of Maurycy August Beniowski (1746-86) is located at rue Benyowski – one of the main streets of downtown Antananarivo. The statue is the first symbol to mark the presence of a Polish diaspora on this island located off the coast of Africa, and a testament to the historical bonds between Poland and Madagascar.

     

    The plaque in the Malagasy capital was unveiled by the Polish-Malagasy “POLka” Association in the framework of the “Polish History and Culture Remembrance Sites” programme. The project was supported by Poland’s Honorary Consul in Antananarivo, Zbigniew Kasprzyk.

     

    Maurycy Beniowski was born in today’s Slovakia of Hungarian origin, but always considered himself a Pole. He took part in the Bar Confederation, established in 1768 against the rising influence of tsarist Russia on the First Polish Republic. Beniowski was captured by the Russians and forced into exile in Kamchatka, where he led 90 other prisoners to escape on a stolen ship. After a series of adventures, colourfully described by Beniowski himself in his “Diaries”, the fugitives made their way to Madagascar.

     

    Beniowski returned to Europe, where he persuaded the French ruler to mount an effort to take over Madagascar. The Pole returned to the island in 1774 at the head of the French forces and quickly conquered the island. In 1776 the inhabitants of Madagascar hailed Beniowski as their king – or ampansakebe in the Malagasy language.

     

    The Polish explorer’s adventurous life has served as the backdrop for countless literary works. Indeed, his “Diaries” were all the rage in the 18th and 19th centuries. Although Maurycy Beniowski liked to embellish and exaggerate his achievements, the Polish count certainly earned his place in the history books of today’s independent Madagascar.

    Poland established diplomatic relations with the Republic of Madagascar in 1973. Madagascar falls under the territorial competence of the Polish Embassy in Nairobi, which cooperates with the “POLka” Association and the Polish Honorary Consul in Antananarivo.

     

    Source: Polish Embassy in Nairobi, culture.pl

    Poland’s Honorary Consul in Antananarivo, Zbigniew Kasprzyk with the head of the Polish-Malagasy “POLka” Association A. Zięba
    Poland’s Honorary Consul in Antananarivo, Zbigniew Kasprzyk with the head of the Polish-Malagasy “POLka” Association A. Zięba
    Rue Benyowski in Antananarivo.
    Rue Benyowski in Antananarivo.
    Pope John Paul II street in Antananarivo.
    Pope John Paul II street in Antananarivo.

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