Madagascar

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**Historical Origins and Early Settlement**:
– The island of Madagascar, known as Madagasikara in the Malagasy language, has uncertain etymology possibly linked to Austronesian or Somali origins.
– Malagasy ancestry is a blend of Southeast Asian, Oceanian, and Bantu roots, with early settlers arriving between 350BC and 550AD.
– Madagascar was one of the last major landmasses settled by humans, predating Iceland and New Zealand.
– The Maanyan people potentially arrived as laborers and slaves through trading activities with Javan and Sumatran-Malays.

**Geography and Wildlife**:
– Madagascar is the world’s fourth-largest island and second-largest island country with a diverse range of ecosystems like rainforests, deserts, and beaches.
– The island features a subtropical to tropical maritime climate and over 90% of its wildlife is endemic due to isolation.
– Antananarivo serves as the capital and largest city of Madagascar.

**Political and Social Developments**:
– Madagascar gained independence from France in 1960 and has undergone four constitutional periods, transitioning to a constitutional democracy in 1992.
– The country is a member of international organizations like the United Nations and the African Union.
– Madagascar has a diverse society with 18 or more classified peoples, predominantly practicing Christianity alongside traditional faiths.
– Malagasy and French are official languages, and the nation is classified as a least developed country by the UN.

**Colonial and Post-Independence Periods**:
– French colonization in the late 19th century led to the establishment of plantations, abolition of slavery, and civil unrest.
– Madagascar’s independence movement culminated in full independence in 1960, transitioning through four republics.
– Notable leaders like Rainilaiarivony implemented modernization policies focusing on education, legal reforms, and defense against colonial incursions.
– Subsequent political developments saw shifts in power, economic challenges, and changes in governance through various presidencies.

**Recent Political Events and Challenges**:
– Recent elections in Madagascar have seen shifts in leadership, with figures like Hery Rajaonarimampianina, Andry Rajoelina, and others coming to power.
– Madagascar faced challenges like the 2021–2022 famine affecting over a million people and controversies surrounding leaders like Rajoelina.
– The 2023 presidential election saw Rajoelina’s re-election amidst low turnout and opposition boycotts, raising questions about political stability and legitimacy.

Madagascar (Wikipedia)

Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar, is an island country comprising the island of Madagascar and numerous smaller peripheral islands. Lying off the southeastern coast of Africa, it is the world's fourth largest island, the second-largest island country and the 44th largest country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Antananarivo.

Republic of Madagascar
  • Repoblika ny Madagasikara (Malagasy)
  • République de Madagascar (French)
Motto: 
  • Fitiavana, Tanindrazana, Fandrosoana (Malagasy)
  • Amour, Patrie, Progrès (French)
  • "Love, Fatherland, Progress"
Anthem: Ry Tanindrazanay malala ô! (Malagasy)
Ô Terre de nos ancêtres bien-aimés! (French)
"Oh, land of our beloved ancestors!"
Location of Madagascar (dark green)
Location of Madagascar (dark green)
Capital
and largest city
Antananarivo
18°55′S 47°31′E / 18.917°S 47.517°E / -18.917; 47.517
Official languagesMalagasy • French
Ethnic groups
(2017)
Religion
(2020)
Demonym(s)Malagasy
GovernmentUnitary semi-presidential republic
• President
Andry Rajoelina
Christian Ntsay
LegislatureParliament
Senate
National Assembly
Formation
• Kingdom
c. 1540
6 August 1896
• Republic proclaimed
14 October 1958
26 June 1960
Area
• Total
592,796 km2 (228,880 sq mi) (46th)
• Water
5,501 km2 (2,124 sq mi)
• Water (%)
0.9%
Population
• 2023 estimate
28,812,195 (52nd)
• Density
47.7/km2 (123.5/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2023 estimate
• Total
Increase $56.754 billion (117th)
• Per capita
Increase $1,906 (182nd)
GDP (nominal)2023 estimate
• Total
Increase $15.763 billion (139th)
• Per capita
Increase $529 (188th)
Gini (2012)Positive decrease 42.6
medium
HDI (2022)Steady 0.487
low (177th)
CurrencyAriary (MGA)
Time zoneUTC+3 (EAT)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+3 (not observed)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy
Driving sideright
Calling code+261
ISO 3166 codeMG
Internet TLD.mg

Following the prehistoric breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana, Madagascar split from Africa during the Early Jurassic, around 180 million years ago, and split from the Indian subcontinent around 90 million years ago, allowing native plants and animals to evolve in relative isolation; consequently, it is a biodiversity hotspot and one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries, with over 90% of wildlife being endemic. The island has a subtropical to tropical maritime climate. Madagascar was first settled during or before the mid-first millennium AD by Austronesian peoples, presumably arriving on outrigger canoes from present-day Indonesia. These were joined around the ninth century AD by Bantu migrants crossing the Mozambique Channel from East Africa. Other groups continued to settle on Madagascar over time, each one making lasting contributions to Malagasy cultural life. Consequently, there are 18 or more classified peoples of Madagascar, the most numerous being the Merina of the central highlands.

Until the late 18th century, the island of Madagascar was ruled by a fragmented assortment of shifting sociopolitical alliances. Beginning in the early 19th century, most of it was united and ruled as the Kingdom of Madagascar by a series of Merina nobles. The monarchy was ended in 1897 by the annexation by France, from which Madagascar gained independence in 1960. The country has since undergone four major constitutional periods, termed republics, and has been governed as a constitutional democracy since 1992. Following a political crisis and military coup in 2009, Madagascar underwent a protracted transition towards its fourth and current republic, with constitutional governance being restored in January 2014.

Madagascar is a member of the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. Malagasy and French are both official languages of the state. Christianity is the country's predominant religion, with a significant minority still practising traditional faiths. Madagascar is classified as a least developed country by the UN. Ecotourism and agriculture, paired with greater investments in education, health and private enterprise, are key elements of its development strategy. Despite substantial economic growth since the early 2000s, income disparities have widened, and quality of life remains low for the majority of the population.


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