Madagascar, sometimes known as the Republic of Madagascar, is an island nation off the coast of Africa’s southeast. It is the second-largest island nation, the fourth-largest island in the globe, and the 46th-largest country overall. These shocking Madagascar-related facts will astound you.
1. The island is the fourth largest in the globe.
Madagascar is large. It is the fourth largest island in the world (and larger than Spain, Thailand, Sweden, and Germany), with a precise area of 226,917 square miles. Comparatively speaking, the UK is a meagre 93,410 square miles.
2. However, it wasn’t even identified until 500 AD.
About 300,000 years after Homo sapiens first appeared in Africa, Madagascar was only very recently colonized by humans. It may have happened as recently as 500 AD.
3. For lovers of wildlife, it is a wonderland.
Only 17 nations are deemed to have “megadiverse” ecosystems, according to Conservation International. Each is home to a huge variety of species, many of which are unique. And Madagascar is one, in large part due to its long period of human-free existence. More than half of the chameleon species in the world and numerous lemur species are among its resident creatures.
4. Some of its wildlife is simply plain strange.
The aye-aye lemur, whose long middle finger helps it detect grubs lurking inside trees, the giraffe-necked weevil, which uses an appendage to roll leaves into tubes for its eggs, and the Malagasy giant rat, which can leap three feet into the air are other examples.
5. A few World Heritage Sites are there.
The Atsinanana jungles, which are home to numerous rare ape and lemur species, the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, a 500-year-old burial site, and the Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve, a labyrinth of limestone that occupies a sizable portion of the island’s western half.
It is completely impenetrable, a labyrinth of twisted canyons, caverns, tunnels, and spires, and is only lightly travelled. Due to the distinctive geology, indigenous species have adapted to live alongside the karst skyscrapers.
6. They use marijuana frequently.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, more Malagasy people than people in The Netherlands smoke marijuana on a daily basis—nearly one in ten. France, Australia, the US, and – at the top of the list – Iceland are the nations that come before it.
7. Its queen was insane.
There’s a good chance that readers of the Flashman books have heard about Ranavalona. During her 33-year reign, she prevented European attempts to take control of Madagascar, but she also put her energy into ruthlessly eliminating Christians, neighbouring kingdoms, and political competitors.
The employment of slave labour to build a massive palace and other public works, along with the widespread purges, caused the island’s population to decline from five million to 2.5 million between 1833 and 1839.
The tangena ordeal, in which the accused was poisoned and then made to consume three pieces of chicken skin, was one method utilized by Ranavalona to keep order. Guilt was indicated by death or by the inability to disgorge all three pieces. Others were merely hurled into enormous ravines.
In the city’s centre, one can still see the ruins of her palace, the Rova of Antananarivo.
8. It served as a pirate sanctuary.
Due to the island’s remote coves and the absence of European powers for many years, Madagascar used to be a sanctuary for hundreds of pirates. Ile Sainte-Marie, four miles off the east coast of Madagascar, was simply referred to as “the island of pirates” on old maps, while one Captain James Misson is said to have created an anarchist colony (Libertatia) there in the late 17th century. When not robbing treasure, a great number of brigands, including Captain Kidd, sought refuge there. Some are interred in the cemetery on the island.
9. The same clothing is worn by males and women.
The men’s and women’s traditional clothing of the islands is called Lamba. Different designs are worn for various occasions, and it is a rectangular length of cloth wrapped around the body.
10. Fighting with just one hand is a national sport.
The bare-fisted combat sport known as moraingy is highly well-liked across the entire island as well as in Reunion, 300 miles to the east.