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Facts about Madagascar: Know the Island Better

Tue, Jan 18, 2011

Middle Africa



Madagascar is an island nation that is situated to the southeast of Africa. As far as its size is concerned, it is ranked fourth largest island in the world. There are many facts about Madagascar which are not only interesting to know but are also informative. Let’s have a look at the fact-sheet of this enchanting island.

Madagascar was formed when the island mass detached from the Gondwanaland million of years ago. Earlier, it was a part of African continent. It was under the subjugation of French colonial rule and was a famous trade hub. It became Republic of Madagascar in early nineties. The geological history of Madagascar has made it a habitat of rare and unique flora and fauna.


As we are listing facts about Madagascar, we cannot forget the fact that this island boasts of a long coastline that is more than 4000 km long. Antananarivo is the capital city. The other name of Madagascar is Red Island which is attributed to the reddish soil that is found here. Most of the part of this island is covered with forests and more than 5% land is under cultivation. The major crops that are grown here are coffee, rice, cassava, peanuts, and cocoa. As the forests are being cut down to expand industrialization, soil-erosion and loss of animal species have become the major issues.


Madagascar abounds both in natural and mineral resources. There are rich deposits of bauxite, coal, graphite etc. Due to the availability of vast water resources, this island is rich in hydropower. As far the industrial facts about Madagascar are concerned, there are numerous industries that are in full vogue here. Some of these industries include textiles, brewery, petroleum, cement, and meat-processing.

The wild life of Madagascar is very wide and complex. Most of the flora and fauna that are found here are known to evolve here. Of many plants that are found at this unique and isolated island are not found in any other parts of the world. Some species like elephant birds and Aepyomis have become extinct. Many other species have been declared endangered. The slash and burn method of cultivation over year has made many agricultural areas nutrition-deficit. Most common language spoken in Madagascar is Malagasy which is also its official language along with French and English. The race of this island is a mixture of South-East Asian and African. The official currency is MGA i.e. Malagasy ariary. There are facilities for exchanging the currency at banks.


Let’s have a look at cultural facts about Madagascar. There are a number of old traditions that are prevalent even now. The poem called Ibonia tells about the mythological beliefs, and other oratory traditions. It has been passed from generation to generation over centuries. Many stories related to supernatural powers and witches have been popular from centuries. Many of these are related to the first inhabitants of this island that are considered to have become the ghosts that must not be angered in anyway. Zebu is considered a sacred animal and is a symbol of wealth for inhabitants.

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