- Continental region – East Africa
- Currency symbol of Madagascar –Malagasy ariary (Ar)
- Capital City – Antananaviro
- Official languages – Malagasy, French
- Population – 26,260,000 (2018)
- Country dialling code – (+ 261)
- Official website – Madagascar
- Top 3 biggest industries –Agriculture, Mining and Tourism
- Google Maps link – Madagascar
- Where is it? –Situated off the southeast coast of Africa, Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. Having developed in isolation, the island nation is famed for its unique wildlife.
Madagascar In Pictures
- How did the country get its first name? – The island is called Madagasikara in the local language.
- How did the country get its current name? – The island’s name, Madagascar was popularised in the Middle Ages by the Europeans. The origin is uncertain but historical documents suggest that the Venetian merchant Marco Polo, who did not even visit Madagascar, confused the island with the kingdom of Mogadishu in Somali, East Africa.
- When and by whom the country was first discovered? – Austronesian people were present on the island between 350 BC and 550 AD, with further evidence supporting human presence thousands of years earlier. The Portuguese mariner Diogo Dias was the first European to arrive in 1500.
- Who were the first Inhabitants? – The original inhabitants of Madagascar are Austronesians and Arabs. The human settlements were made about 2,000 years ago. Austronesians from South eastern Asia were the first to arrive.
- When was it first recognized as a country? – In October 1958 the Malagasy Republic was proclaimed as an autonomous state within the French Community and gained full independence 26 June 1960.
- Who was the first leader of the country? -Philibert Tsiranana served as the first President of Madagascar from 1959 to 1972.
Five Significant Events
- 1946 Event Overseas territory: Madagascar becomes an Overseas Territory of France .French suppress armed rebellion in east. Thousands are killed. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13864364 )
- 1960 Event Independence: Independence with Philibert Tsiranana as president.(https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13864364 )
- 1993 Event Elections: Opposition leader Albert Zafy is elected president. Fire destroys most of Rova complex of royal tombs and palaces in Antananarivo, shortly before it was to receive UN World Heritage Site status. Reconstruction work continues.(https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13864364)
- 2009 Event Rajoelina rise: Dozens are killed as a result of violent protests in Antananarivo following the closure of opposition TV and radio stations. Opposition leader Andry Rajoelina calls on the president to resign, and proclaims himself in charge of the country.(https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13864364 )
- 2018 Event Electoral laws: Supreme Court scraps electoral laws that sparked weeks of demonstrations and death of two protesters. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13864364 )
Five Places to Visit in Madagascar
- Ile Sainte Marie: The Ile Sainte Marie lies off the east coast of Madagascar. The island’s array of protected bays and inlets drew pirates to Ile Sainte Marie during the 17th and 18th centuries, and the wrecks of several pirate ships can still be viewed from the shallow waters of the Baie des Forbans. Today the island is one of the top tourist attractions in Madagascar. The still, clear waters of the island’s bays make ideal spots for snorkeling. Migrating humpback whales visit the island waters during summer and early fall.(https://www.touropia.com/tourist-attractions-in-madagascar/ )
- Isalo National park: The Isalo National Park is notable for is varied terrain. Located in the central southern region of Madagascar, the park includes areas of grassland, steep canyons and sandstone formations, all dotted by occasional pools lined by palm trees. As in many of the country’s national parks, guides are required. Tours can be arranged to last as short as several hours or as long as several days. (https://www.touropia.com/tourist-attractions-in-madagascar/ )
- Tsingy de Bemaraha: The Tsingy de Bemaraha Reserve lies in the southern region of Madagascar’s largest natural reserve, Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve. The word “tsingy” refers to the pinnacles that dot the park’s limestone plateau. Located near the country’s west coast, the park features a broad expanse of mangrove forest. The park is home to seven lemur species, including the Deckens sifaka, a genus of lemur notable for its creamy white fur and black face. (https://www.touropia.com/tourist-attractions-in-madagascar/ )
- Avenue of the Baobabs: The Avenue of the Baobabs is a group of trees lining the dirt road between Morondava and Belon’i Tsiribihina in western Madagascar. Its striking landscape draws tourists from around the world, making it one of the most visited locations in the region. The Baobab trees, up to 800 years old, did not originally tower in isolation over the landscape but stood in a dense tropical forest. Over the years, the forests were cleared for agriculture, leaving only the famous baobab trees. (https://www.touropia.com/tourist-attractions-in-madagascar/ )
- Ifaty: Ifaty is the name given to two dusty fishing villages on the coast of southwest Madagascar. Offshore, a 60-mile long coral reef is a natural barrier to rough sea waves, creating coastal waters that are ideal for diving, snorkeling and fishing. The desert inland area is known for its spiny forest, where the strange-shaped baobab trees have thrived for centuries. (https://www.touropia.com/tourist-attractions-in-madagascar/ )