“Great Red Island”
Formal Name: Republic of Madagascar
DTA code: MA
Government Type: Republic
Legal System: based on French civil law system and traditional Malagasy
law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.
Foreign Relations: Good relations with many countries, especially France, and
the western countries of Africa.
Jan. 1 – New Year’s Day
May 1 – Workers Day
May 24- OAU Day
June 26- Independence Day
Nov 1 – All Saints Day
Dec 25- Christmas
Dec 30- Republic Day
The Malagasy are of mixed Malayo-Indonesian and African-Arab ancestry.
Indonesians are believed to have migrated to the island about B.C.E. 700.
Archaeologists have found human remains dating back 2000 years.
Madagascar was a favorite base for sea pirates in the 1600’s and 1700’s,
including the famous Captain Kidd.
The French made the island a protectorate in 1885, and then in 1894-95
ended the monarchy.
In 1908 a colonial administration was set up, to which the Comoro Islands
were attached. In World War II the British occupied Madagascar, which retained
its ties to France. Madagascar became an independent member of the
community in 1960.
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Rated 10th poorest country in the world. Madagascar faces problems of
chronic malnutrition and severe loss of forest cover accompanied by erosion.
Provides almost 80% of exports, 16% of cultivated land is irrigated. Major
crops include, coffee, vanilla, sugar cane, cloves, rice, bananas, peanuts; wide
spread cattle raising; also extensive fishing.
Exports and Imports
Major exports are coffee, vanilla, cloves, and sugar. Main markets are
France, USA, Germany, and Japan.
Major Imports are capital goods, oil, and consumer goods. Main suppliers
are France, Japan, and Germany.
There are some 20 ethnic groups of which principal ones are the Central
Highlanders of mixed Arab, African, MalayoIndonsian ancestry. Other groups
include, Comorans, French, and IndoPakistanis.
The estimated population as of July 2000 was 15,506,472
Languages are Malagasy and French.
About 55% hold indigenous beliefs, 40% Christian, and 5% Muslim
One Malagasy Franc equals one US dollar
Location: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean
Area: Slightly less than double the size of Arizona
Climate: Tropical along coast, arid in the south
Natural Resources: Graphite, Coal, Tar, Stones.
Natural Hazards : Periodic Cyclones
Ports: 15 major ports
Major Cities and Points of Interest
The city is built on a Y shaped granite mountain surrounded by rice fields. The
rova (royal fort) sits atop the highest point and has a historical museum of the
ancient Malagasy kings and queens. The center of town has the largest open air
market in the world. It is also home to a botanical and zoological garden with
many specimens of flora, lemurs, chameleons, insects, and birds.
This is Madagascar’s premier resort island.
Parc National de Montagne d’ Ambre
This is one of the most visited attractions. It was created in 1958 to preserve the
area’s biological treasures. It is 45,000 acres of rainforest.
This is Madagascar’s 2nd port on the northwest coast. There are many churches
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there, and it host’s the largest Muslim community. The beaches are blood red
from the highland because of the soil being washed out to sea.
Most kinds of animals and plants do not exist anywhere else in the world.
The best known wild animal is the lemur. It is also home to reptiles, monkeys,
insects, and many unusual birds. The humpback whales can be seen in the
coastal waters. Madagascar was once described as “Noah’s Ark adrift in the