HOVA, the name originally applied to the middle-class MalayoIndonesian natives of Madagascar (q.v.), as distinct from the noble class Andriana and the slave class Andevo. Hova has now come to mean the most numerous and powerful of the tribes which form the native population of Madagascar. The Hova, who occupy the province of Imerina, the central plateau of the island, are of Malayo-Indonesian origin. The period at which the Hova arrived in Madagascar is still a subject of dispute. Some think that the immigration took place in very early times, before Hinduism reached the Malay Archipelago, since no trace of Sanskrit is found in Malagasy. Others believe that the Hova did not reach the island until the 12th or 13th century. At the French conquest of Madagascar (1895), the Hova were the most powerful and, politically, the dominant people; but were far from having subjected the whole of the island to their rule. The Hova are short and slim, with a complexion of a yellowish olive, many being fairer than the average of southern Europeans. Their hair is long, black and smooth but coarse. Their heads 1 Much rice is cultivated in the vicinity of Houston by Japanese farmers.
are round, with flat straight foreheads, flat faces, prominent cheekbones, small straight noses, fairly wide nostrils, and small black and slightly oblique eyes. The physical contrast to the negro is usually very obvious, but, especially among the lower classes, there is a tendency to thick lips, kinky hair and dark skin. In many of their customs, such as taboo, infanticide, marriage and funeral rites, they show their Indonesian origin. Most of them now profess Christianity.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)