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Madagascar - Country facts

Map

Small map of Madagascar
Click for a larger map

Flag

Country flag: Madagascar

Capital

Antananarivo

Currency

Malagasy franc (MGF)

Internet Code

.mg

Location

Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Mozambique

Background

Formerly an independent kingdom, Madagascar became a French colony in 1896, but regained its independence in 1960. During 1992-93, free presidential and National Assembly elections were held, ending 17 years of single-party rule. In 1997, in the second presidential race, Didier RATSIRAKA, the leader during the 1970s and 1980s, was returned to the presidency. The 2001 presidential election was contested between the followers of Didier RATSIRAKA and Marc RAVALOMANANA, nearly causing secession of half of the country. In April 2002, the High Constitutional Court announced RAVALOMANANA the winner.

Climate

tropical along coast, temperate inland, arid in south

Terrain

narrow coastal plain, high plateau and mountains in center

Population

18,040,341 (July 2005 est.)

Ethnic Groups

Malayo-Indonesian (Merina and related Betsileo), Cotiers (mixed African, Malayo-Indonesian, and Arab ancestry - Betsimisaraka, Tsimihety, Antaisaka, Sakalava), French, Indian, Creole, Comoran

Religions

indigenous beliefs 52%, Christian 41%, Muslim 7%

Languages

French (official), Malagasy (official)

Map of Madagascar

Large map of Madagascar
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