10 Things You Might Not Know about Madagascar
- Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island country, situated off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean.
- The people of Madagascar, called Malagasy, are descendants of Africans and Indonesians who came and settled here 2000 years ago. Madagascar is home to 22 million people and 18 different tribal groups.
- Madagascar was ruled by the French for a very long time and became independent only in 1960. It became the Republic of Madagascar in 1993.
- The Malagasies have high respect for their ancestors and their dead. They bury them in coffins and place them on high caves, believing it would bring the dead closer to heaven. During ceremonies, they even dance with the bodies and photos of their dead relatives.
- Scientists say that Madagascar broke off from Africa almost 160 million years ago. That is why new species developed here. Hundreds of species of animals and plants, found nowhere in the world, are found in Madagascar.
- Over 100 species of lemurs are found only in Madagascar, of which the ring tailed lemur is quite famous. Half of the world’s chameleons are found here.
- Tenrecs were the first mammals to arrive in Madagascar. The Fossa, with a cat like body and dog-like nose, is neither a cat nor a dog. It is the largest predator in Madagascar.
- Madagascar has only 11% of the total land as concrete roads. Rest all the roads are muddy and it is extremely difficult to drive a car on them.
- Even though Madagascar provides half of the world’s supplies of precious and semi-precious stones like sapphire, it is one of the poorest countries in the world.
- Fanorona is a famous and fun board game which was invented in Madagascar.
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