COMMERCE. While the oversea trade of Mada gascar is increasing every year, most of it is with France. The preferential tariff in favor of France reduces the trade with other countries. In 1901, 13,440 vessels of 2,438,952 tons visited the ports. The value of the total external com merce of the colony was 55,000,000 francs in 1901. as against 51.000,000 in 1900. The imports were valued at 46,000,000, and the exports at 9,0o0, 000 francs, four-fifths of the trade being in com modities brought into the country. The most important import is French cotton cloth. The Malagasy as well as Europeans regard the amount of their purchases of cotton cloth as the criterion of the island's prosperity. };ice has the second place among the though Madagascar should be a rice-exporting country. The apathy and indolence of the natives are re sponsible for the insufficiency of the rice crop, but the stimulus the French authorities are giving to this industry is expected soon to make the crop at least sufficient for the home needs. The chief articles of export are gold, raphia (fibre). and beef cattle. The chief ports in order of importance are Tamatave, Mojanga, and Ant seranana. The French are expending large mums to improve interior communications, and business was stimulated in ] 902 by the completion of the wagon road from Antananarivo (q.v.) to the east coast, where there is a water route through the lagoons to Tamatave. A railroad between the
east coast and Antananarivo is also building. There is regular steamship service between Mada gascar and Marseilles.
The administration of the island has been since 1897 in the hands of a Governor-General, assisted by an administrative council. The interior part of the island is administered by residents and vice-residents under the supervision of the Governor-General. The French Government main tains here (1903) a military force of about 16. 000 men, of which over 8.000 are natives. The expenditures of France on Sladagasear for 1903 amounted to over 27,000,000 francs. The revenue of the colony shows an increase from a little over 9.000,000 francs in 1897 to about 22.000,000 francs in 1902. The revenue is obtained from taxation, which is very heavy. Madagascar has a considerable debt. It has three banks, two of them branch institutions. The system of using forced native labor is still practiced. There are elementary schools provided by the Government, in which the French and Malagasy languages are taught, as well as agricultural and industrial schools. There are four normal schools. a school of medicine, and a professional school. The col ony has a system of courts.