43 Facts About Madagascar


Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar, is an island country in the Indian Ocean, approximately 400 kilometres off the coast of East Africa across the Mozambique Channel.

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Human settlement of Madagascar occurred during or before the mid first millennium AD by Austronesian peoples, presumably arriving on outrigger canoes from present-day Indonesia.

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Until the late 18th century, the island of Madagascar was ruled by a fragmented assortment of shifting sociopolitical alliances.

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The autonomous state of Madagascar has since undergone four major constitutional periods, termed republics.

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Madagascar is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.

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Madagascar belongs to the group of least developed countries, according to the United Nations.

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The island's appellation "Madagascar" is not of local origin but rather was popularized in the Middle Ages by Europeans.

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The traveler's palm, known locally as ravinala and endemic to the eastern rain forests, is highly iconic of Madagascar and is featured in the national emblem as well as the Air Madagascar logo.

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Endemic fish of Madagascar include two families, 15 genera and over 100 species, primarily inhabiting the island's freshwater lakes and rivers.

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Madagascar had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 4.

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Madagascar was an important transoceanic trading hub connecting ports of the Indian Ocean in the early centuries following human settlement.

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From about 1774 to 1824, Madagascar gained prominence among pirates and European traders, particularly those involved in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

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The small island of Nosy Boroha off the northeastern coast of Madagascar has been proposed by some historians as the site of the legendary pirate utopia of Libertalia.

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Radama's successor, Queen Ranavalona I, responded to increasing political and cultural encroachment on the part of Britain and France by issuing a royal edict prohibiting the practice of Christianity in Madagascar and pressuring most foreigners to leave the territory.

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Residents of Madagascar could accuse one another of various crimes, including theft, Christianity and especially witchcraft, for which the ordeal of tangena was routinely obligatory.

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Since regaining independence, Madagascar has transitioned through four republics with corresponding revisions to its constitution.

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The new Madagascar constitution established a multi-party democracy and a separation of powers that placed significant control in the hands of the National Assembly.

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Madagascar was consequently impeached in 1996, and an interim president, Norbert Ratsirahonana, was appointed for the three months prior to the next presidential election.

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Madagascar is a semi-presidential representative democratic multi-party republic, wherein the popularly elected president is the head of state and selects a prime minister, who recommends candidates to the president to form his cabinet of ministers.

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In 1896 the French colonizers of Madagascar adopted the Merina capital as their center of colonial administration.

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Since Madagascar gained independence from France in 1960, the island's political transitions have been marked by numerous popular protests, several disputed elections, an impeachment, two military coups and one assassination.

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Madagascar has historically been perceived as being on the margin of mainstream African affairs despite being a founding member of the Organisation of African Unity, which was established in 1963 and dissolved in 2002 to be replaced by the African Union.

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Madagascar was not permitted to attend the first African Union summit because of a dispute over the results of the 2001 presidential election, but rejoined the African Union in July 2003 after a 14-month hiatus.

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Madagascar was again suspended by the African Union in March 2009 following the unconstitutional transfer of executive power to Rajoelina.

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Madagascar is a member of the International Criminal Court with a Bilateral Immunity Agreement of protection for the United States military.

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Eleven countries have established embassies in Madagascar, including France, the United Kingdom, the United States, China and India, while Madagascar has embassies in sixteen other countries.

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Human rights in Madagascar are protected under the constitution and the state is a signatory to numerous international agreements including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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Madagascar became a member state of the United Nations on 20 September 1960, shortly after gaining its independence on 26 June 1960.

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In 2017, Madagascar signed the UN treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

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Madagascar is the world's principal supplier of vanilla, cloves and ylang-ylang.

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Madagascar has one of the world's largest reserves of ilmenite, as well as important reserves of chromite, coal, iron, cobalt, copper and nickel.

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The main sources of Madagascar's imports include China, France, Iran, Mauritius and Hong Kong.

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The majority of roads in Madagascar are unpaved, with many becoming impassable in the rainy season.

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Madagascar had outbreaks of the bubonic plague and pneumonic plague in 2017 and 2014 .

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Madagascar is a francophone country, and French is mostly spoken as a second language among the educated population and used for international communication.

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The Malagasy Council of Churches comprises the four oldest and most prominent Christian denominations of Madagascar and has been an influential force in Malagasy politics.

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Each of the many ethnic subgroups in Madagascar adhere to their own set of beliefs, practices and ways of life that have historically contributed to their unique identities.

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The most emblematic instrument of Madagascar, the valiha, is a bamboo tube zither carried to Madagascar by early settlers from southern Borneo, and is very similar in form to those found in Indonesia and the Philippines today.

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Traditional houses in Madagascar are likewise similar to those of southern Borneo in terms of symbolism and construction, featuring a rectangular layout with a peaked roof and central support pillar.

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Madagascar has developed a rich musical heritage, embodied in dozens of regional musical genres such as the coastal salegy or highland hiragasy that enliven village gatherings, local dance floors and national airwaves.

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Madagascar has a growing culture of classical music fostered through youth academies, organizations and orchestras that promote youth involvement in classical music.

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Madagascar has produced a world champion in petanque, a French game similar to lawn bowling, which is widely played in urban areas and throughout the Highlands.

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Madagascar sent its first competitors to the Olympic Games in 1964, and has competed in the African Games.

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