Also known as Radama the Great, he was the first king of Madagascar. He came from a long line of royalty who ruled over the Merina Kingdom, which is the name of pre-colonial Madagascar. He took over the reign from his father when he was just 18 years old. And it was under his invitation that the Europeans to settle on the island. He encouraged them to establish schools and teach his people. He was also responsible for ending the international slave trade in Madagascar, which was a backbone of the Merina Kingdom. His abuse of alcohol caused his death at just 35 and he was succeeded by his highest-ranking wife, Ranavalona I.