Madagascar History

Madagascar History and Geography

Madagascar. Island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of the African continent, at the height of Mozambique. Antananarivo is the capital city of Madagascar according to allpubliclibraries.

The island of Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world after Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo.


Madagascar was the name that the Portuguese gave to the island (1502) and it derives from medieval Latin: it was the name of an imaginary island with which the current Madagascar was identified around 1500.

Following Malagasy tradition, the island was previously inhabited by the Vazimba, a race of white pygmies. These people emigrated in successive groups from Polynesia starting in the 1st century. These colonizers brought with them the zebu, a typical Madagascar ox, and the cultivation methods typical of their cultures of origin. The name “Malagasy” of its residents, comes from the French, which they took from “Malagasy”, a name given to the original residents of the island Madagascar was a commercial power in the Indian Ocean in the 9th century, exchanging products with coastal towns of the continent and with Arab merchants.

In 1948, in a first attempt to achieve their independence, the Malagasy took up arms against the French occupation but were defeated. This unsuccessful uprising set the stage for independence, which came in 1960, with Philibert Tsirana leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) as the first President elected by the ballot box.

Philibert Tsirana was in power until 1972, when the opposition of significant sectors of the population to his policy of subordination to French politics forced him to resign, granting the provisional leadership of the government to his trusted man, General Ramanantsoa.

Three years later, Ramanantsoa resigned from his post and Commander Didier Ratsiraka was chosen as head of state. Didier Ratsiraka promoted the holding of elections for the National Assembly in 1977, elections in which only the only legal party, Vanguard of the Malagasy Revolution (AREMA), would participate. Six years later, in the next legislative elections, a new party, the National Movement for the Independence of Madagascar, was allowed to participate in it, but President Didier Didier Ratsiraka was re-elected.

General Rakotoarijaona, after ten years as prime minister in February 1989, resigned from his post, replaced by Colonel Ramahatra, a member of Merino royalty. In May of that same year, presidential elections are held and Ratsiraka is reelected again. In mid- 1991, the discontent of the population against the government, whom it blamed for the sad economic situation and for representing only the interests of the Merino ologarchy, broke out in numerous popular riots that were strongly repressed by the army.

In February 1993, the 18-year term of Didier Ratsiraka came to an end, and another President was elected, the professor of medicine, Albert Zafy, representative of the opposition platform Comité des Forces Vives (CFV), Zafy, did not know how to clean up an administration faithful to the previous president, and did not manage to improve the situation in the country and, to the disappointment of the population, who largely abstained from participating in the next elections, he lost his position and allowed Didier Ratsiraka to return, in 1996, to The presidency.

Again, the acceptance of the plans imposed by the IMF would not serve in the following years for the Ratsiraka government to lift the country out of the general bad economic situation or for a large part of the population living below the levels of poverty will change their situation.

Discontent grew, while the popularity of Marc Ravalomanana increased. In December 2001, Ratsiraca and Marc Ravalomanana, the latter mayor of Antananarivo, who came to represent the alternative to the bad government of Ratsiraka, faced each other in the presidential elections.

Ratsiraca, not recognizing the triumph of Ravalomanana, proclaims himself together with this winner of the elections.

Although the government formed in February 2002 by Ravalomanana was quickly recognized by the international community and Ratsiraka and his forces left the capital to take refuge in the city of Tamatave, the constant sabotage carried out by the people of Ratsiraka forced new elections to be held. to settle the situation; elections that in December 2002 gave the victory to Ravalomanana again.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the island was politically grouped and established its capital in Antananarivo. In 1896 French troops turned Madagascar and the nearby islands into a new colony of France.



The climate is varied depending on the altitude and its relationship with the sea. In this way, the coastal zone in the east presents a climate with high rainfall, not the west coast, which has a long dry season. In the south and southwest there is a semi-arid climate and with little rainfall, while in the northwest the rains can reach 3000 mm per year. In many areas of the interior a tropical climate prevails, softened by the altitude. On the other hand, the rivers in the east are short and mighty, while in the western part they are longer without navigational capacity.

The north of the nation, with the Tsaratanani massif that reaches 2,876 meters of altitude, is the highest region. The west is subdued by a plateau that is descending towards the sea. The east of the island is dominated by the Tsaratanana massif that reaches 2886 meters on Mount Maromokotro. In the center and south the most important elevations are those of Ankaratra and Andrigitia.

Madagascar History