Madagascar On Fotopedia
The Republic of Madagascar (older name Malagasy Republic, Malagasy: Repoblikan'i Madagasikara [republi?k?an mada?as?k?ar??], French: République de Madagascar) is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa. The nation comprises the island of Madagascar (at 587,041 square kilometres (226,658 sq?mi), the fourth-largest island in the world), as well as numerous smaller peripheral islands, the largest of which include Nosy Be and Nosy Boraha (Île Sainte-Marie). Following the prehistoric breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana, Madagascar split from India around 88?million years ago, allowing plants and animals on the island to evolve in complete isolation. Consequently, Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot in which over 80% of its wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth. The island's diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife are threatened by human settlement. Most researchers believe Madagascar was first inhabited sometime between 200 BCE and 500 CE by Austronesian peoples arriving on outrigger canoes from Borneo who were later joined around 1000 CE by Bantu migrants crossing the Mozambique Channel. Arabs, East African, later Malay and Javanese, Indian, Chinese and European (primarily French) migrants settled on Madagascar over time, each one making lasting contributions to Malagasy cultural life. The Malagasy ethnic group is often divided into eighteen or more sub-groups of which the largest are the Merina of the central highlands.