Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Madagascar

The location is the fourth largest island in the world after Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo. It is located in the Indian ocean and is separated from Mozambique on the African continent in 400 kilometres from the Mozambique channel.

Territory – 595,8 thousand km 2.

Population – 14,96 million people (1998).

The capital is Antananarivo (Tana) (802 thousand).

Other major cities – Toamasina (189 thousand inhabitants), Fianarantsoa (111 thousand people), Mahajanga (111 thousand people)

Official language – Malagasy, French.

The dominant religions are traditional beliefs, Christianity (Catholic, Protestant), Islam (Sunni).

The monetary unit is the Malagasy franc.

State. operation – Republic.

GNP per capita is 230 USD.

Political structure . The head of state is the President. Legislative body – National people’s Assembly.

Map. Madagascar, The Democratic Republic Of Madagascar

History . Marco Polo reported Madagascar’s existence after one of his travels, and this island was known to Arab cartographers. The first Europeans arrived on the island were the Portuguese fleet under the command of Diego Dias in 1500. Over the next few centuries the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British tried unsuccessfully to found on the island in permanent settlements. The French landed on the West coast of the island in 1895 and formed the colonial administration. Earth island was owned and used by the foreign settlers and companies, and the economy of Madagascar is based on the cultivation of coffee.

During the Second world war, the British settled on the island to prevent the Japanese to use it as a naval base in the Indian ocean. The British returned to Madagascar de Gaulle in 1943. In 1958, the Malagasy people in the referendum voted for autonomy of the Republic in the French community of former colonies. In the 1960s in Madagascar began a peaceful transition to independence.

After Madagascar independence, his economic situation began to deteriorate. Quick change of several military presidents, could not keep the economy from collapse.

Economy . Madagascar is an agricultural country. Share in GDP (1994,%): agriculture 37, industry 13. Major commodity crops: coffee, vanilla, cloves, pepper, sugar cane, tobacco. Livestock. Fisheries. Extraction chromite, graphite, mica, etc., electricity Production of 611 million kWh?h (1995). Cotton, footwear, food-processing, paper, cement industries. Craft. The length of Railways (1996, th. km) of 1.03; roads – 50. Exports: coffee, vanilla, cloves, sugar, fish products, graphite, mica, chromites. The main trade partners: France, USA, Japan, Germany, Italy.

Relief . Madagascar has a continental origin, not volcanic; it separated from the African continent about 165 million years ago. In the center of the island is a high plateau, and in the West there are plains and lowlands.

Climate . Except for the southern tip of Madagascar lies entirely in the tropics. However, on its high plateau is quite cool. Sometimes in the highlands snow falls in winter. The trade winds come from the East and the monsoons of North-West. Most precipitation occurs on the East coast and in the Northern part of the country. From January to March, East coast, Northern and far South is prone to cyclones.

Attractions . In the Upper Town (Haute-Ville) is the Tan Kianga no Pahlevanyan (Independence Square). Radiating from the Square are narrow streets lead to several other churches and former Royal buildings and ruins Rowy, the former Royal Palace. ROVA was burned to the ground in 1995 during the political demonstration during the local elections.

In the North-Eastern part of the Tana market is located Andravoahangy where masons, booksellers, carpenters and other artisans and craftsmen sell their wares. Here you will be able to observe their work.

In Botanical and Zoological Parks Tsimbazaza home to several species of lemurs (in the cells and outside the cells), including ay-ay, and other rare species of animals, such as herons, crocodiles and aldabrensis and Malagasy tortoises. The Park has a Malagasy Academic Museum whose collection includes natural and cultural exhibits, such as skeletons and a fossilized egg of extinct elephant bird, the skeletons of giant lemurs, Arctic white Rhino and dugong. In other halls you can get acquainted with the objects of everyday life of the population and objects necessary for the ritual of burial.

Park Montagne d’ambra – the most visited attraction in Northern Madagascar. This Park is a 18,200 hectares of volcanic massif. Flora and fauna of the Montagne d’ambra, reminiscent of the flora and fauna of the Eastern humid forests, even though here is home to several endemic species of animals that are found further South. Special attention should be paid to the bizarre blue-nosed chameleon and short-tailed chameleon. There is a Small Cascade, a beautiful small waterfall, overhanging rocky pond, and a Small Lacquer – quiet volcanic lake. Near a Small cascade route passes Jardin Botanique, leading through the forest full of bizarre plants such as orchids, palms, lianas and bromeliads.

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