Portal:Madagascar

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Introduction

Landscape near Fianarantsoa, Madagascar.
Landscape near Fianarantsoa, Madagascar.
Flag of Madagascar.svg

Madagascar (/ˌmædəˈɡæskər/; Malagasy: Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar (Malagasy: Repoblikan'i Madagasikara Malagasy pronunciation: [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 may have occurred as much as 10,000 years ago. 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

Babakotia radofilai.jpg

Babakotia is a medium-sized, extinct genus of lemur, or strepsirrhine primate, from Madagascar that contains a single species, Babakotia radofilai. Together with Palaeopropithecus, Archaeoindris, and Mesopropithecus, it forms the family Palaeopropithecidae, commonly known as the sloth lemurs. The name Babakotia comes from the Malagasy name for the Indri, babakoto, to which it and all other sloth lemurs are closely related. Due to its mix of morphological traits that show intermediate stages between the living indriids and the large sloth lemurs, it has helped determine the relationship between both groups and the closely related and extinct monkey lemurs.

Babakotia radofilai and all other sloth lemurs share many traits with living sloths, demonstrating convergent evolution. It had long forearms, curved digits, and highly mobile hip and ankle joints. Its skull was more heavily built than that of indriids, but not as much as in the larger sloth lemurs. Its dentition is similar to that of all other indriids and sloth lemurs. It lived in the northern part of Madagascar and shared its range with at least two other sloth lemur species, Palaeopropithecus ingens and Mesopropithecus dolichobrachion. Babakotia radofilai was primarily a leaf-eater (folivore), though it also ate fruit and hard seeds. It is known only from subfossil remains and may have died out prior to the arrival of humans on the island, but not enough radiocarbon dating has been done with this species to know for certain. (Read more...)

Selected image

Madagascar3.JPG
Credit: Mbz1

A girl in Madagascar.

Did you know ...

Illegal logging of rosewood in Madagascar


Did you know?


  • ...that although no fossils of the extinct Malagasy Hippopotamus have been dated within the last 1,000 years, villagers in Madagascar described a similar creature still alive as recently as 1976?


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

Ranavalona III

Ranavalona III (1861–1917) was the last sovereign of the Kingdom of Madagascar. Her reign from 1883 to 1897 was marked by ultimately futile efforts to resist the colonial designs of the government of France. She entered into a political marriage with Rainilaiarivony who, in his role as Prime Minister of Madagascar, largely oversaw the day-to-day governance of the kingdom and managed its foreign affairs. Throughout her reign, Ranavalona tried to stave off colonization by strengthening trade and diplomatic relations with the United States and Great Britain. However, French attacks ultimately led to the capture of the royal palace in 1895, ending Madagascar's autonomy. The newly installed French colonial government initially permitted Ranavalona and her court to remain as symbolic figureheads until the outbreak of a popular resistance movement led the French to send her into exile. The queen, her family and the servants accompanying her were provided an allowance and enjoyed a comfortable standard of living, but she was never permitted to return to Madagascar despite her requests. She died at her villa in Algiers at the age of 55; her remains were returned to Madagascar in 1938.

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