General Information about Madagascar

The official name is the Republic of Madagascar (Repoblica Malagasy, Ripublique de Madagascar, Republic of Madagascar). It is located on the island of Madagascar and adjacent small islands (Nusu Be, Saint Marie, etc.) in the southeastern part of the Indian Ocean west of Mozambique. The area is 595.8 thousand km2, the population is 16.5 million people. (2002). The official languages are Malagasy and French. The capital is Antananarivo (1.3 million people, 2002). Public holiday – Independence Day June 26 (since 1960). The monetary unit is the Malagasy franc (equal to 100 centimes).

Member of the UN (since 1960), AU (since 1963), associate member of the EU, etc.

Geography of Madagascar

Located between 43°30′ and 51° east longitude and 13° and 26° south latitude, it is separated from the African mainland by the Mozambique Channel. Most of the island is a plateau with volcanic massifs up to 2876 m high. There are large reserves of graphite, chromium, nickel, beryl, cobalt, iron ore (400 million tons), bauxite (100 million tons), mica. Soils: on the High Plateau – red-yellow, dark red and red ferrallitic, stony, infertile; in the south – mountain brown; on volcanic rocks – black fertile soils; in the east – gley and gleyalluvial; in the west – red-brown; in the northwest, brown. The climate is tropical and equatorial monsoon, temperate in the central part of the island. Average monthly temperatures are +13-30°С. Precipitation 500-3000 mm per year. Savannahs predominate in the west, rainforests in the east and north, significant areas are occupied by artificial plantings of eucalyptus. Most of the plants and animals are endemic. The animal world is unique: only here you can find lemurs, radiant turtles, chameleons, green parrots, blue doves.

Population of Madagascar

Average annual growth rate 2.91% (2000-02). Population density 56 people. per 1 km2. Birth rate 42%, mortality 12%, infant mortality 82 people. per 1000 newborns. Life expectancy is 56 years (men – 54 years; women – 58 years). Sex and age structure: 0-14 years – 45% (ratio of men and women – 1); 15-64 years – 52% (0.98); 65 years and older – 3% (0.86). The ratio of men and women in the entire population is 0.99. Among the adult population, 20% are illiterate (men 12%, women 27%).

According to Countryaah, the majority of the population is Malagasy – representatives of 18 ethnic groups: gelding and betsilelu, betsimisaraka, tsimiheti, antandrui, etc. Comorians, Indians, Pakistanis, Chinese and French also live on the island.

52% of the population adheres to traditional beliefs, 41% professes Christianity, 7% – Islam.

History of Madagascar

In the 14th and 15th centuries in the central part of the island of Madagascar, the state of Imerina was formed. In the beginning. 19th century on its basis, the Malagasy kingdom, or the kingdom of Madagascar, was formed. The penetration of Europeans – the Portuguese – on the island refers to the middle. 16th century In 1896, after the rivalry between Great Britain and France for influence in Madagascar, it was declared a colony of France, and only as a result of the rise of the national liberation movement in the 1940s and 1950s. received the right to self-government, and in 1958 – the status of an autonomous republic within the French Community. On June 26, 1960, the independent Malagasy Republic was proclaimed. From 1960 to May 1972, the Social Democratic Party (leader F. Tsiranan) was in power, pursuing a pro-Western policy that caused discontent among the masses. In May 1972, as a result of mass anti-government demonstrations, power in the country passed to the military-civilian government headed by General G. Ramanantsua. After the failure of the attempted military coup in January-February 1975, the leadership of the country was taken over by the Military Revolutionary Council, headed by Captain D. Ratsiraka (he was in power from 1975–92). A referendum held in December 1975 called for the development of the country along a course of socialist orientation, which remained until August 1992. In accordance with the Constitution of 1975, the National Front for the Defense of the Revolution (NFZR) was the country’s leading political force. In the 1980s in Madagascar, there were 7 political parties that joined the political struggle and were in opposition to the NFZR and President Ratsiraka. In the beginning. In 1991, the intensification of mass demonstrations led to the self-dissolution of the NFZR and the signing of a convention on October 31, 1991, which was approved by the main political forces of the country. The Convention defined an 18-month transitional period during which provisional bodies of legislative and executive power operated in the country. The Supreme State Council was headed by A. Zafi, the leader of the Committee of Viable Forces (KZhS) party. In August 1992, a referendum on the Constitution adopted the introduction of the country’s Third Republic and the rejection of the socialist orientation of development. In February 1993, Zafi won the presidential election, but in September 1996 he was impeached and removed from his post at the request of the National Assembly and the decision of the Supreme Constitutional Court. In December 1996, former President Ratsiraka won the early presidential elections. The December 2001 presidential elections led to the emergence of dual power in the country and the beginning of a civil war: M. Ravalumanana did not recognize the official results of the elections and declared himself the winner in the first round. In April 2002, the Supreme Constitutional Court recounted the votes and declared Ravalomanan the president of the country. Ratsiraku was not satisfied with this decision, and he demanded a referendum. Political tension in the country continued to persist.

People of Madagascar