Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar, and previously known as the Malagasy Republic, is an island country in the Indian Ocean, approximately 400 kilometers off the coast of East Africa. At 592,800 square kilometers Madagascar is the world’s 2nd largest island country
Madagascar is considered a part of southern Africa as it is located in the Indian Ocean east of Mozambique. It is a large island that has a narrow coastal plain with a high plateau and mountains in its center. Madagascar’s highest mountain is Maromokotro at 9,435 feet (2,876 m).
Key cities in Madagascar include: Antanarivo, Toamasina, Antsrirabe, Mahajanga, Fianarantsoa, Toliara, Antsiranana, Ambovombe, Antanifotsy, and Amparafaravola.
Historical, Cultural facts & Religion
The history of Madagascar is distinguished clearly by the early isolation of the landmass from the ancient supercontinent containing Africa and India, and by the island’s late colonization by human settlers arriving in outrigger canoes from the Sunda Islands (Malay Archipelago) between 200 BC and 500 AD.
The culture of Madagascar is an amalgamation of various cultures of its multi-ethnic population. The culture of the country reflects the origins of the Malagasy people and exhibits striking resemblance in certain aspects with the cultural practices of Southeast Asians and East Africans.
Brief Country History
Archaeologists estimated that the first human settlers of Madagascar existed between 200 and 500 A.D. when seafarers from Southeast Asia (probably from Borneo or the southern Celebes) arrived in outrigger sailing canoes. In the 7th century, the written history called sorabe began when Arab Muslims established trading posts along the northwest coast.
A Portuguese ship sighted the island and sailed along the coast in 1500. Diogo Dias sighted the island after his ship separated from a fleet going to India. He named the island as “Sao Lourenco” (St. Lawrence) and continued trading with the islanders. Word of the Portuguese discovery spread to France and England, and both countries rushed to establish settlements on the island.
In 1794, King Andrianampoinimerina managed to unite the various tribes of Madagascar, forming a single kingdom. He established the Merina Kingdom. By 1810, he was succeeded by his son, King Radama I. He extended the Merina Kingdom over the major portions of the island especially over the Betsimisaraka and the south. King Radama I welcomed and befriended major European countries and allowed them to assist in the modernization of the kingdom and to further his conquests. Missionaries, led by David Jones, introduced the Roman alphabet and Christianity to Radama’s subject. Queen Ranavalona, the wife of Radama I, took over the throne after the King Radama died in 1828. She forced the missionaries out of Madagascar.
In 1883, the French attacked Madagascar and became a French protectorate for almost 3 years of Warfare. Madagascar became a full-fledged French colony after a massive invasion by French forces in 1895. The monarchy was abolished and French became the official language. In 1958, the French elected a new president, Charles De Gaulle. The president immediately granted Madagascar its independence.
Language (s) Written & Spoken
The Malagasy language of Malayo-Polynesian origin is generally spoken throughout the island. The official languages of Madagascar are Malagasy and French. Madagascar is a Francophone country, and French is spoken among the educated population of this former French colony.
Important Types of Commerce in Madagascar
Madagascar has a market economy with agriculture, textile, mining, and tourism industries contributing significantly to the economy. The biggest industries in the country according to their annual output are the seafood industry, glassware, sugar, textiles, cement, tourism, paper, petroleum, and mining. Fishing, mining, and tourism make up the three pillars of the Malagasy economy.
Language Services US and others will provide working with Madagascar
Doing business with Madagascar requires an understanding of their local language which is Malagasy and French. An individual or business is required to have a Malagasy and French interpreter accompanying them in Madagascar for an exhibition, business negotiations, training, conference, medical support, or for an excursion to bridge the language gap. Moreover, they also require Malagasy and French Translation services for translation of important business documents such as sales and marketing literature, copyright, trademark and patent applications, partnership and employment agreements, mergers, acquisitions and incorporations, trusts and wills flawlessly.
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