Madagascar or Malagasy Republic: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, history, size, population, and government of the country Madagascar or Malagasy Republic.



Location--An island in the Indian Ocean 240 mi. off the southeast coast of Africa. Its western coast helps form the Mozambique Channel.

How Created--Believed to be a part of the submerged continent of Gondwana.

Size--226,444 sq. mi. (586,486 sq. km.), it is the 4th largest island in the world.

Population--8 million: Merina, 26.1%; Betsimisaraka, 14.9%; Betsileo, 12%; Tsimikety, 7.2%; Sakalava, 5.9%; Antandroy, 5.3%; other Malagasy groups, 27.2%; French, Comoran Islanders, East Indians, and Chinese, 1.4%. 50% Animist, 25% Roman Catholic, 20% Protestant, 5% Muslim.

Who Rules--In 1972 Maj. Gen. Gabriel Ramanantsoa closed both houses of the legislature and established a Cabinet of 4 army officers and 6 civilians. Under police supervision a referendum was held, and the military rule was approved for 5 years--until 1977.

Who REALLY Rules--Malagasy is a member of the French Community, and France spends about $40 million annually on Malagasy public works, communications, schools, hospitals, housing, etc. The country is also dependent upon France as its best customer. An international consortium has plans to build cement, plate glass and rubber factories, and a huge shipyard and dry dock.

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