Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar,[lower-alpha 1] is an island country lying off the southeastern coast of Africa. It is the world's fourth largest island, the second-largest island country and the 46th largest country in the world.[13] Its capital and largest city is Antananarivo.

20°S 47°E

Republic of Madagascar
  • Repoblikan'i Madagasikara (Malagasy)
  • République de Madagascar (French)
  • Fitiavana, Tanindrazana, Fandrosoana (Malagasy)
  • Amour, Patrie, Progrès (French)
  • "Love, Fatherland, Progress"[1]
Anthem: Ry Tanindrazanay malala ô! (Malagasy)
Ô Terre de nos ancêtres bien-aimés! (French)
"Oh, beloved land of our ancestors!"
Location of Madagascar (dark green)
Location of Madagascar (dark green)
and largest city
18°55′S 47°31′E
Official languagesMalagasy  French
Ethnic groups
GovernmentUnitary semi-presidential republic
Andry Rajoelina
Christian Ntsay
National Assembly
6 August 1896
 Republic proclaimed
14 October 1958
26 June 1960
587,041 km2 (226,658 sq mi) (46th)
5,501 km2 (2,124 sq mi)
 Water (%)
 2023 estimate
28,812,195[8] (52nd)
47.7/km2 (123.5/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
Increase$51.8 billion[9] (117th)
 Per capita
Increase$1,790[9] (182nd)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
Increase$15.10 billion[9] (139th)
 Per capita
Increase$522[9] (188th)
Gini (2012)Positive decrease 42.6[10]
HDI (2021)Steady 0.501[11]
low · 173rd
CurrencyAriary (MGA)
Time zoneUTC+3 (EAT)
 Summer (DST)
UTC+3 (not observed[12])
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy
Driving sideright
Calling code+261[12]
ISO 3166 codeMG

Madagascar consists of an eponymous main island and numerous smaller peripheral islands. Following the prehistoric breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana, Madagascar split from Africa during the Early Jurassic, around 180 million years ago, and split from the Indian subcontinent around 90 million years ago,[14] allowing native plants and animals to evolve in relative isolation; consequently, it is a biodiversity hotspot and one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries, with over 90% of wildlife being endemic. The island has a subtropical to tropical maritime climate.

Madagascar was first settled during or before the mid first millennium AD by Austronesian peoples,[15] presumably arriving on outrigger canoes from present-day Indonesia.[16][17][18] These were joined around the ninth century AD by Bantu migrants crossing the Mozambique Channel from East Africa.[19] Other groups continued to settle on Madagascar over time, each one making lasting contributions to Malagasy cultural life. Subsequently, the Malagasy ethnic group is often divided into 18 or more subgroups, of which the largest are the Merina of the central highlands.

Until the late 18th century, the island of Madagascar was ruled by a fragmented assortment of shifting sociopolitical alliances. Beginning in the early 19th century, most of it was united and ruled as the Kingdom of Madagascar by a series of Merina nobles. The Monarchy was ended in 1897 by the annexation by France, from which Madagascar gained independence in 1960. The country has since undergone four major constitutional periods, termed republics, and has been governed as a constitutional democracy since 1992. Following a political crisis and military coup in 2009, Madagascar underwent a protracted transition towards its fourth and current republic, with constitutional governance being restored in January 2014.

Madagascar is a member of the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the Organization Internationale de la Francophonie. Malagasy and French are both official languages of the state. Christianity is the country's predominant religion, but a significant minority still practice traditional faiths. Madagascar is classified as a least developed country by the UN.[20] Ecotourism and agriculture, paired with greater investments in education, health and private enterprise, are key elements of its development strategy. Despite substantial economic growth since the early 2000s, income disparities have widened, and quality of life remains low for the majority of the population. Madagascar is experiencing an ongoing famine, which experts argue is the first to be caused entirely by climate change.[21]

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