Madagascar is a large island country that lies off the south-east coast of the African continent. The country, which is the fourth largest island in the world, also includes a number of smaller islands which surround it. The capital city of Antananarivo is home to over 900,000 people and is known by the French shorthand Tana. The total population of Madagascar is approximately 21,926,221 and the official languages spoken are Malagasy and French. Madagascar was a French country for many years and gained its independence in 1960.
Interesting facts about Madagascar
- Madagascar consumes the largest amount of rice per capita in the world.
- Madagascar is the largest producer and exporter of vanilla. Madagascar also exports essential oils and shrimp and it is well known for its coffee beans.
- The largest recognized religion in Madagascar is Christianity with 45% of the population being Christian. 50% of the population believes a mixture of indigenous spirituality.
- The official name of Madagascar is the Republic of Madagascar. This became the official name in 1993 after previously being the Democratic Republic of Madagascar.
- The Highest Mountain in Madagascar is Maromokotro with a height of 9,436 ft (2,876 m).
- Madagascar has three main types of geography, the highlands, the escarpment and the plains.
- Madagascar has a rainy season from November to April and a dry season from May to October. The east coast sees more rain than the west coast and the highlands are generally cooler and drier than the east coast.
- Madagascar is home to many species of plants and animals that can be found nowhere else on Earth, such as lemurs. Approximately 80% of the fauna and Flora found in Madagascar is unique. Many of these plants and animals are classified as endangered species.
- The national musical instrument of Madagascar is the Zither (valiha).
- Madagascar has a number of traditional sports including Moraingy or lutte malgache, a type of hand-to-hand combat and the wrestling of zebu. Other popular sports include soccer and rugby. There is also a French form of lawn bowls that is widely played.
- Madagascar also has a traditional board game known as Fanorona.
- Madagascar is home to a World Heritage Site known as The Royal Hill of Ambohimanga. The site includes a royal city, scared places and a burial ground.