50 Fascinating Facts about Madagascar

Madagascar is an island nation located off of the coast of Africa. Its official name is the Republic of Madagascar. The country is one of the largest islands in the world. It is a popular tourist spot and is well known for its biodiversity. It is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. The history of Madagascar dates all the way back to 2000 BC. Evidence has shown that Madagascar was once part of the mainland before breaking off into the island it is known as today. The coutnry has a Parliamentary government and gained its independence from France in 1960. As of 2015, the country had a population of 24.24 million people. Its capital is Antananarivo, which has a population surpassing 1.6 million people. The capital city is also the country's largest city by population. In terms of area, Madagascar is 228,900 square miles, making it the 47th largest country in the world. The flag of Madagascar features stripes of red, white, and green. The colors of the flag represent the traditional classes, the history of the country, and the desire for independence.

Madagascar Facts

1
Madagascar has a GDP of $9.981 billion, and its nominal per capita GDP is $1,500 as of 2016.
2
Madagascar was one of the last land masses on earth to be colonized.
3
Madagascar is an island nation located off of the coast of Africa.
4
It wasn’t always an island. Millions of years ago, Madagascar was connected to Africa’s mainland.
5
The first inhabitants weren’t from Africa but were Asian and came from Borneo.
6
The services industry makes up 58.9% of the country’s GDP, according to 2016 estimates.
7
Agriculture is responsible for 24.8% of the country’s GDP.
8
Coffee, cloves, vanilla, shellfish, and sugar are some of the major exports of Madagascar.
9
Many of the world’s most high-quality sapphires have been found in Madagascar.
10
Unfortunately, an influx of gem hunters has put rainforests in the country at risk, and local residents that cannot control the situation have been calling for military intervention.
11
Madagascar is the 4th largest island in the world. Only Borneo, New Guinea, and Greenland are larger.
12
The country gained its independence from France in 1960.
13
Tropical cyclones are common in Madagascar, and destructive flooding occurred in the country in 2004.
14
Cyclone Gafilo killed almost 200 people, left over 200,000 homeless, and caused millions of dollars in damages.
15
Madagascar has two official languages: French and Malagasy.
16
The national sport of Madagascar is rugby, although football (or soccer, as it’s known in the United States) is also a very popular sport.
17
Residents of Madagascar, particularly those in the coastal regions, participate in a type of hand-to-hand combat known as Moraingy.
18
The 3rd largest coral reef in the world is located off of the southwestern coast of Madagascar.
19
The country has a poor economy, and approximately 70% of inhabitants live on less than $1 per day.
20
Madagascar is home to lemurs. In fact, there were 103 different species and sub-species as of 2012, with many of these species being classified as endangered or rare.
21
Madagascar has a very young population, with over 60% of its residents under the age of 25.
22
Arranged marriages, where parents promise their daughter’s hand in marriage in exchange for money or cattle, is traditional in this country.
23
Madagascar is home to 18 ethnic groups.
24
Contrary to the popular animated “Madagascar” movies, lions, zebras, giraffes, and hippos are not found on the island.
25
Approximately 80% of the animal and plant species found on the island can’t be found anywhere else on earth. This is because the country is isolated from other countries.
26
An insect known as the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach is only found on the island. They typically live in rotting wood and only come out at night.
27
Chameleons can be found all over the island. Approximately 60 species, and almost half of the world’s chameleons, are found in Madagascar.
28
An outbreak of the bubonic plague occurred in 2013, leading to 20 deaths.
29
The geography of Madagascar is very diverse, ranging from coastal plains, plateaus, and mountains located in the center of the country.
30
Madagascar is frequently called the “Red Island” because of the color of its soil.
31
The country is also known as the 8th Continent of the World because it is so biodiverse.
32
There are two seasons in Madagascar: the dry, cooler season runs from May through October, while the hot, rainy season goes from November through April.
33
The majority of residents have indigenous religious beliefs, but a large percentage of citizens are Christian.
34
Approximately 80% of the country’s forest land has been lost since humans have inhabited the land.
35
Around 150 species of palms can be found on the island of Madagascar.
36
Education was made a priority under Marc Ravalomanana’s presidency in 2002 through 2009, with primary education being made available to citizens for free.
37
Madagascar is known for its oratory and written literature.
38
Hainteny is a tradition of the country. It is a type of storytelling that uses metaphors, riddles, fables and poems to deliver a simple message.
39
Wood carving is a popular craft in the country, and it can be seen in carved sculptures, railings, furniture and goods in households around the country.
40
Ranovola is a popular drink in Madagascar. It is made with water used to cook rice.
41
Speaking of rice, it is a staple in homes across the country. A typical meal consists of rice topped with sauce, meat, vegetables, and spices.
42
Malagasy wine is created at vineyards in Madagascar. This table wine is available in red, white, and grey varieties.
43
Many of Madagascar’s plants are used for medicinal purposes. Drugs for leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, and other types of cancers are made from the Madagascar periwinkle flower.
44
European pirates and traders stopped at Madagascar during the 1700s and 1800s, and it is even rumored that a pirate nation known as Libertalia was established here. Madagascar also has pirate cemetaries.
45
The country has a constitution that is in place to protect human rights of its citizens.
46
The people of Madagascar have spiritual beliefs that the living look after the dead, while the dead also look out for the living.
47
The people of Madagascar often construct rich, expensive tombs for the dead and even bury their loved ones with jewels and precious metals.
48
The world’s strongest silk is made from the silk of the Darwin’s bark spider, which is found in Madagascar.
49
Tsingy is a forest located on the island that is made up of stones.
50
The Rainforests of the Atsinanana was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.

The country of Madagascar is one that is rich with culture and history. Some of the most rare and unique plant and animal species can be seen in this country, which is renowned for its natural beauty.

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