Portal:Madagascar

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Introduction

Rice fields near Ambalandingana, Madagascar.
Rice fields near Ambalandingana, Madagascar.
Flag of Madagascar.svg

Madagascar (/ˌmædəˈɡæskər/; Malagasy: Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar (Malagasy: Repoblikan'i Madagasikara [republiˈkʲan madaɡasˈkʲarə̥]; French: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic, is an island country in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of East Africa. The nation comprises the island of Madagascar (the fourth-largest island in the world), and numerous smaller peripheral islands. Following the prehistoric breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana, Madagascar split from the Indian peninsula around 88 million years ago, allowing native plants and animals to evolve in relative isolation. Consequently, Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot; over 90% of its wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth. The island's diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife are threatened by the encroachment of the rapidly growing human population and other environmental threats.

The first archaeological evidence for human foraging on Madagascar dates to 2000 BC. Human settlement of Madagascar occurred between 350 BC and AD 550 by Austronesian peoples, arriving on outrigger canoes from Borneo. These were joined around AD 1000 by Bantu migrants crossing the Mozambique Channel from East Africa. Other groups continued to settle on Madagascar over time, each one making lasting contributions to Malagasy cultural life. The Malagasy ethnic group is often divided into 18 or more subgroups of which the largest are the Merina of the central highlands.

Selected article

Lemur catta 001.jpg

The Ring-tailed Lemur (Lemur catta) is a large Strepsirhine primate and the most recognized lemur due to its long, black and white ringed tail. It belongs to Lemuridae, one of four lemur families. It is the only member of the Lemur genus. Like all lemurs it is endemic to the island of Madagascar. Known locally as Hira (Malagasy), Maky (Malagasy), or Maki (French), it inhabits gallery forests to spiny scrub in the southern regions of the island. It is omnivorous and the most terrestrial of lemurs. The animal is diurnal, being active exclusively in daylight hours.

The Ring-tailed Lemur is highly social, living in groups of up to 30 individuals. It is also female dominant, a trait common among lemurs. To keep warm and reaffirm social bonds, groups will huddle together forming a lemur ball. The Ring-tailed Lemur will also sunbathe, sitting upright facing its underside, with its thinner white fur towards the sun. Like other lemurs, this species relies strongly on its sense of smell and marks its territory with scent glands. The males perform a unique scent marking behavior called spur marking and will participate in stink fights by impregnating their tail with their scent and wafting it at opponents. (Read more...)

Selected picture

Atsinanana.jpg
Credit: Gloumouth1

Women sweeping a path in Atsinanana, Madagascar.

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Illegal logging of rosewood in Madagascar


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In the news

Wikinews Madagascar portal
  • January 24: Wikinews interviews Aurélien Miralles about Sirenoscincus mobydick species discovery
  • April 7: At least fourteen dead after eating toxic fish in Madagascar
  • May 13: Madagascar's leader Andry Rajoelina 'will not run in polls'
  • March 6: Somali pirates seize tanker off coast of Madagascar
  • December 21: Madagascar leader names army officer as prime minister
  • November 7: Madagascar political rivals agree to unity government deal
  • March 22: Madagascar's former opposition leader sworn in as president
  • March 17: Madagascar President resigns, unclear rule in Antananarivo
  • March 16: Coup in Madagascar; opposition leader backs army
  • July 14: 13 missing from ship off coast of Madagascar; two rescued

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Selected biography

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Marc Ravalomanana (born December 12, 1949, in Imerinkasinina) is a Malagasy politician who was the President of Madagascar from 2002 to 2009. A member of the Merina ethnic group, Ravalomanana served as Mayor of Antananarivo before becoming President in 2002. He took office as President amidst a dispute over the results of the December 2001 presidential election in which he successfully pressed his claim to have won a majority in the first round. He was re-elected in December 2006, again with a majority in the first round.

In the municipal elections held on November 14, 1999, Ravalomanana was elected as mayor of the capital, Antananarivo, receiving 45% of the vote and defeating former Prime Minister Guy Willy Razanamasy. As mayor he was credited with successfully cleaning up the capital. He announced on August 5, 2001 that he would run for President in the election to be held later that year on December 16; two months later, polls showed him to be ahead of the incumbent president, Didier Ratsiraka.

(Read more...)

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