Madagascar Facts

Madagascar is an island nation in the Indian ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa. Archaeologists generally say Madagascar was first inhabited sometime 300BC - 500AD, by Austronesian peoples who arrived on outrigger canoes. Since, there have been many Bantu and Arab influences and population intermixture.

The local language spoken by the majority of the population Malagasy is an Austronesian language and one of the official languages. The other official languages are French, official since independence, and English, official since 2007. Madagascar is home to 5% of the world's plant and animal species, of which more than 80% are endemic to Madagascar.They include the lemur infraorder of primates, the carnivorous fossa, three bird families and six baobab species.

At 587,000 square kilometres (227,000 sq mi), Madagascar is the world's 46th-largest country and the fourth-largest island. It is slightly larger than France, and is one of 11 distinct physiographic provinces of the South African Platform physiographic division.

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