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Word Count: 492
Madagascar Madagascar formally called the Malagasy Republic is an island nation in the Indian Ocean It is located about 250 miles across the Mozambique Channel from the southeastern coast of Africa About the same size as Texas Madagascar is the fourth- largest island in the world including its five small offshore island territories Antananarivo is the capitol and principal city of Madagascar The basic racial type of the people is Malayo-Polynesian The Malagasy are divided into 18 different ethnic groups The largest is the Merina About 98 of the population are Malagasy but there are small minorities from the nearby Comoros as well as some French Indians and Chinese 4 Like the people the Malagasy language is of Malayo-Polynesian origin It has also borrowed from the Bantu languages of southern Africa and from Arabic and French Both Malagasy and French are official languages Madagascar is 51 Christian 47 African religions and 2 Islam 4 Madagascar is a heterogeneous nation due to the number of religions and ethnic groups It is believed that Madagascar was inhabited about the 1st century AD when the Indonesian seafarers arrived By the 7th century Arabs established trading posts in coastal areas 2 The French arrived in 1643 and established a trading post at Fort Dauphin During the late 16th century the Merina kingdom was founded with its capitol at Antananarivo Britain gave its interests to France in 1890 and Madagascar became a French colony During this time Madagascar benefitted from the colonial experience because it was influenced by these countries During World War II however a series of events occurred and leadership changed hands many times After the war Madagascar was turned over to the Free French in 1943 In 1947 there was a revolt against the French and an estimated 11000 to 80000 were killed 3 Then in 1960 the Malagasy Republic became independent from France on June 26 Philibert Tsiranana became the president Army officers seized the power
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