Maurice Benyovszky (1741 – 1786) was a remarkable soldier who was a captain in many battles and wars. Sometimes banishments, imprisonments, and escape attempts followed these. On one occasion he and his fellow escapees ended up in Formosa (Thailand) after touching upon Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. Ultimately they arrived at Macao, and set off to France via the Isle de France (Mauritius) and Madagascar.
Here Benyovszky gave the idea to Louis XV that France should colonize Madagascar. After receiving the green light for his project, he landed on the island in 1774 with 200 men and established the “capital city”, Louisbourg. He accomplished many significant things such as road construction, spreading literacy among the natives, draining of the swamps and healing. These measures made him so fondly adored among the natives that according to Benyovszky he was elected their supreme chief and king (Ampansacabe). Because of this good connection with the natives, the governor of Mauritius started to defame Benyovszky in France, so Benyovszky resigned and went back to Hungary.
In the War of the Austrian Succession, he received the title of count from Maria Theresa in 1778. In 1782, he found sponsors in Baltimore for his second journey to Madagascar, where he later arrived in July 1785. The furious French sent a small military unit to assassinate Benyovkszy. Thanks to his memoirs, a lot of significant materials were preserved, for example details about the natives of St Lawrence Island and Ryukyu Islands, as well as Formosa. Madagascar did not forget his name; recently a street was named after him in the capital city.