Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Hova (pronounced Huva), the ruling nation of Madagascar, who are chiefly confined to the province of Imerina, in the central part of the inland plateau. Of all the Malagasy peoples the Hovas have best preserved the original Malay type, though a distinct strain of Negro blood is betrayed in their frizzly hair and tumid lips. Hova, a term of doubtful origin, is properly the name of the middle classes, the nobles calling themselves Andriana, while the slaves are collectively known as Mainti or Andevo.. The Hova peasantry are industrious tillers of the land, courteous and hospitable, while those of the capital and other large towns have the reputation of being "past-masters in the arts of deceit and cajolery." They are, however, remarkably intelligent, mostly Protestants, well-educated and skilful craftsmen. Through the Hovas western culture is gradually spreading over the whole island, though its progress has been somewhat checked by the recent meddlesome interference of the French in the internal affairs of the kingdom. (The Antananarivo Annual, etc., 1875-92; J. Sibree, Madagascar and its People, 1870; H. W. Little, Madagascar: its History and People, 1884.)