Once again, it is time to discover a new country. This time on “Exploring the Countries”, we present to you Madagascar, a beautiful country full of unique animals and plants.
Geographical Location of Madagascar
Let us start with Madagascar’s location. It is an island country considered as a part of Africa. It is the fourth largest island in the world, and since it is an island country, it does not have a border neighbor by land. Madagascar is located in the west of the Indian Ocean close to the eastern coast of southern Africa.
Population and Ethnicity of Madagascar
According to the population data of 2018, Madagascar has a population of twenty-six million. Its population consists of eighteen different ethnic groups. The largest groups are those of Malay-Indonesian descent. There are also Arab, Indian, Chinese, and East African descended groups. The different ethnicities enrich the country’s culture.
Religious Beliefs of Madagascar
Local beliefs make up the majority of the population, and they have a rate of 50%. Due to missionary movements in the country, the rate of Christians is 35%, and Muslims come to 15%.
The Origin of the Name Madagascar
In the memoirs of the famous traveler Marco Polo, there is an interesting story about the name of Madagascar. In his Madagascar memoirs, he says that the country’s name did not come from any local language spoken in Madagascar. He mentions the city of Mogadishu in Somalia, a long distance from Madagascar, and states that the name Madagascar came from this country.
A Brief History of Madagascar
Here are some important turning points in the country’s past. The first point is the year 430, when people first came to the island. After that, the country received constant immigration. Many kingdoms were established and destroyed in the country. In 1818, missionaries coming from England spread Christianity. Madagascar was the colony of various countries from the 16th century to the 19th century. Finally, in 1960, the country declared its independence.
Languages Spoken in Madagascar
Malagasy and French are the official languages of the country. The reason of this duality is that the native people are called Malagasy, and the spoken language has the same name, it is also called Merina language. However, due to many years of French colonization, almost everyone knows French as a second language.
History of Islam in Madagascar
Islam first reached the island in the seventh century through Arab merchants. However, its spread was not until the 10-11th centuries. 14th and the 15th centuries were the golden age for Muslims. Since Madagascar was a colony of various countries from the 16th century to its independence in the 19th century, Muslims were exposed to missionary activities.
Muslims of Madagascar
Muslims in the country are made up of many ethnic groups. There are also members of parliament who represent them in the parliament. This opportunity gives them political representation and freedom of belief, as well as a good planning of structure. There are enough mosques and schools all around the country to meet the needs of Muslims, and their numbers are increasing.
Economy of Madagascar
National income and per capita income data show that Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world, although it is a country rich in natural resources such as diamonds, gold, oil, nickel, coal, etc. This is because of the plunder of resources, due to the long colonial period. While it should be rich in natural resources, one-third of its economy consists of agriculture (most of it vanilla-farming).
Climate of Madagascar
Climate changes in Madagascar depend on the elevation differences. If we look at the climate on an elevation basis, the coasts are generally hot and humid. In the mountainous interior, it is temperate. On a seasonal basis, there are two seasons in the country. One is the hot (rainy) season, and the other is the cold (dry) season.
Administrative Structure and the Political Parties of Madagascar
The administrative structure of Faritra consists of twenty-two regions. As for the political structure, there is a multi-party-political system. And the country is governed by a semi-presidential system. Elections for the presidency are held every 5 years.
Famous Mosques of Madagascar
The country’s most well-known mosque is the Ahmadiyya Mosque in the capital Antananarivo. Another mosque in the capital is the Khoja Mosque. Lastly, let’s mention an old mosque, the Tamatave Old Mosque in Toamasina.
Landmarks of Madagascar: Royal Hill of Ambohimanga
It is a palace that has hosted the rulers of Madagascar for 500 years. The most interesting part is that the wall around it was built of cement made with lemon and egg white. Buildings in the country are mostly made of earth and adobe, however, they are not permanent. Yet, these walls are still intact.
Must-See Places of Madagascar
Baobab Road lies in the shade of 800-year-old Baobab trees and has a world-famous landscape. Ifaty is a fishing village and one of the most ideal diving places in the world. With its white sands and lush nature, Ile Sainte Marie is a wonderful place for water sports.
Cuisine of Madagascar
The cuisine of Madagascar is as rich as the variety of the ethnic groups. As for the most well-known ones, rice is indispensable. Almost every dish is eaten on top of rice. Furthermore, in the Malagasy language, the word food means to eat rice. The local sauce, Loaka, is famous as well.
Endemic Plants of Madagascar
The island is home to thousands of unique plant species. It is known that 14,000 plant species are only found on the island. These plants are used in the treatment of many diseases. In fact, Madagascar Violet is an important raw material in the treatment of blood cancer.
Interesting Creatures in Madagascar
It is time to mention the unique animals of the island. Although humankind has wiped some of them out, 70% of the creatures on the island are still intrinsic to Madagascar. Aye-aye, black lemur, ındri, fossa and dancing sifaka are some of them.
What is Madagascar Famous For?
Madagascar is best known for its lemurs. Lemurs are a species native to the island. They have been the symbol of Madagascar. There is even an animated film series called Madagascar. The beloved, playful character there, King Julian is a lemur. Lemurs are constantly screaming, active creatures.
National Parks of Madagascar
There are two important national parks suggested. One is a national park that hosts the diversity of animals and plants. Masoala National Park, covered with rainforest, is exactly the place to see species unique to the island. The other one is a park which supplies camping service. Isalo National Park is a convenient place for a few days-nature trip.
Islands of Madagascar
The official name of the country is the Republic of Madagascar. It is also called Red Island because of its red-colored lands. The locals call the country Mada for short. Scientists have an interesting interpretation of this. They call the island the Eight Continent because of its native endemic plant species and the living species.