1. MICROSOFT ENCARTAENCYCLOPEDIA
2. INTERNET: 1) INFOPEDIA
3. WORLD BOOK 1993
4. COLLIER'S ENCYCLOPEDIA
5. ACADEMIC AMERICANENCYCLOPEDIA
6. ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA
7. INFO TRAC
8. WORLD ALMANAC AND BOOKOF
By: Anna Magerko
My reportis on Madagascar. Madagascar is anisland of the continent of Africa. It isthe fourth largest island in the world. It is in the Indian Ocean. Madagascar is formed by one large island and several small islands. The country’s total area is 226,658 squaremiles. It is about the size ofTexas. The central part of this largeisland is made of a mountainous plateau. This separates the sides of the island. Madagascar is partly volcanic in origin. The sides of the mountain rise about 2,876 feet to the top. Maromokotro is located near the north of theisland. The massive Ankaratra Mountains,near the capital city of Antananarivo, rise to the height of 2,643 miles. The land slopes steeply to a small or narrowlowland bordering the Indian Ocean in the east. There is a somewhat wider coastal plain next to the Mozambique Channelin the west. The best soil in thecountry is found along the coast, and in river valley’s of the centralplateau. The major rivers of Madagascarare Betsiboka, Mangoky and Onilahy. Allrivers start on the east side of the country, and flow west towards theMozambique Channel. The largest lake isnear Toamasina. It is called Alaotra.
The eastern part of Madagascar gets a lot of rain, whichis brought on shore by winds coming from the southeasterly direction. Annual precipitation in some areas on theeastern coast is about 120 inches. Thecentral plateau doesn’t get as much rain. Areas in the south and southwest get about 15 inches of rain. Most of the rain falls between November andApril. Coastal regions remain at a warmor hot temperature throughout the year. The central plateau has a climate of warm summers and cool winters. Tropical rain forests are also inMadagascar. The Savanna woodlands andgrasslands grow in the drier western regions. Desert vegetation occurs in the extreme southwest. Animal life is uncommon in Madagascar. Lemur, is an animal that is found almostalways in Madagascar. All the animalsthat are in Madagascar share characteristics with animals in Africa. The differences indicate they evolved onMadagascar during a long period of isolation.
They have minerals in Madagascar like the ones we have inUnited States of America. They have coaland nickel. Other important mineralresources include bauxite, chromium, graphite, iron ore, petroleum and copperdeposits, as well as small amounts of salt, garnets, and mica.
Madagascar has an ethnically diverse population of13,005,989. The number of people livingthere is growing at a comparatively high annual rate of 3.2 percent. Some major ethnic groups are the Merina, whomakes up 27 percent of the total population, and the Betsilo [12 percent] whoare related to the Merina. Both groupsdescended mostly from Malaya and Indonesia about 2,000 years ago. The coastal areas are in habited mainly by agroup of mixed people. The ancestriesamong these people are Malayo-Indonesian, black African, and Arab. The ethnic groups are Tsimihety [7 percent ],Sakalave [6 percent ], and Antaiska [5 percent ] . Only 22 percent of the total population isclassified as urban. Antananarivo the capital, is the largest city with apopulation of 703,000. Other importantcities are Toamasina [139,000], Fianarantsoa [111,000], Mahajanga [111,000],Toliara [59,000], and Antsiranana [53,000].
The two official languages of Madagascar are the Merinadialect of Malagasy, a language of Malayo-Indonesian origin, and the other isFrench. Approximately 41 percent of the religion in Madagascar is Christian. Fifty-two percent follows traditional beliefsand 7 percent is Muslim.
In 1976 the government passed legislation making sixyears of school mandatory. By the middleof the 1980s the literacy rate was up 67 percent. Virtually all children in the age group ofsix to eleven attended elementary school, and 21 percent of those between theages of twelve and seventeen were enrolled in secondary school. The country’s main source of higher educationis at the University of Antananarivo. Most of higher education centers are located in Antananarivo.
Madagascar’s radio and television broadcasting isprovided by Radio-Television Malgasy and Radio Madagasikara. Both stations are state owned. Not everybody has a radio or television, sothe government owns a newspaper, Madagascar-Tribune. There is one othernewspaper it is the Imongo Vaovao. Bothof the newspapers are made in Antananarivo.
In 1975, Madagascar’s government said, under theconstitution, that the country was ruledby a president who was elected for seven years. They have a twenty-two member Supreme Revolutionary Council, which isappointed by the president. They alsohave a Council of Ministers that is lead by the Prime Minister. They have yet another council it is called the People’s NationalAssembly. It is a 137 member assembly,elected by the people. The members servea five year term. Madagascar’s Judicial system is based upon that of France. It includes a supreme court, located in Antananarivo, a court of appeal,eleven courts of first instance, and special economic and criminaltribunals. Madagascar’s military has21,000 members. Madagascar is a memberof the United Nations. It also is a partof the Organization of African Unity, and several other organizations.
Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in theworld. The country remains, like incolonial times, mostly agricultural. Eighty percent of the country’s labor force is engaged in agriculturalactivities.
The main food crops in Madagascar are rice, cassava,beans, bananas, corn, sweet potatoes, and taro. The production of goods has notkept up with the growing population. Also, the importation of large amounts of food, can’t keep up with iteither. The cash crops are coffee,cloves, sugarcane, sisal, tobacco, and eighty percent of the world’s supply ofvanilla. Livestock includes 10.6 millioncattle, one point one million goats, and one point four million pigs. Not a lot of commercial fishing is done inMadagascar. Most of the fish caught isconsumed locally. Efforts to replenishthe forest lands are underway. They are planning to do this because in themiddle 1980s 7.3 million cubic feet of forest land was cut.
Public transportation in Madagascar is not veryhigh. The country has only 549 miles ofrailroad track. They have some 11,560miles of road. Thirty percent of theroads are paved. Only about 36,000 carsare in use. Toamasina is the main porthandling 35 percent of the nation’s foreign trade. Mahajanga, Toliara, and Antsiranana are someother port cities. Madagascar only has four major airports. The international airport is located inAntananarivo. Madagascar has its ownairline, which is called Air Madagascar.
Foreign trade in Madagascar generally has a negativebalance. In the late 1980's import andexport values have increased. Coffee hasmade up 28 percent of all exports by value, followed by vanilla [twenty-sixpercent], sugar [five percent], and cloves and clove oil [four percent]. Exports include Chemicals [fifteen percent],machinery [fourteen percent], crude petroleum [ten percent], motor vehicles andparts [nine percent], and metal products [seven percent]. The major tradingpartners of Madagascar are France, United States, Germany, and Japan.
Of course Madagascar has its own money. The money in Madagascar is called Malagasyfranc. One dollar in US currency is equal to 1846.87 Malagasy francs.
The history of Madagascar, first European to sight theisland was Diogo Dias. Dias was from Portugal. He found the island some time in the 1500s. During the 17th century, thePortuguese, the English, and the French successively and unsuccessfully triedto colonize Madagascar. The French got atemporary hold on the island in 1642. Theywere driven out in 1674. They finallyacquired trading places along the east coast in the following century. From 1810 to 1828, during the reign of theMerina king, Radama I, who didn’t like the French, allowed the English to comeand live there. British officers trainedMerina troops, and British missionaries introduced Christianity. After the death of Radama I, a strongreaction towards European culture developed. Reforms were abolished, the missionaries were persecuted, and traderelations with Great Britain were severed. Radama II reigned from 1861 to1863. He was a generally a progressiveruler. He got along with theFrench. Radama II was killed because ofthis fact. There was a period of timewhen they’re arguing with the French. After that period of time, Queen Ranavalona III took over ruling Madagascar,in 1895. In 1896, because of popularuprisings, Madagascar was proclaimed a colony of France. Then military rule was instituted, and thequeen was sent out of the country and was not allowed to return. Now Madagascar has its own government, and isprogressing well. They have a systemsimilar to the United States. They havea congress, a constitution, and a president. Their president is elected for a seven year term. Unlike our president’s term that is only forfour years. The official name forMadagascar is Democratic Republic of Madagascar.
I chose to do my report on Madagascar because it is anisland. I love islands. I have alwayswanted to live on an island. Anotherreason I choose Madagascar was because I had heard of Madagascar but neverreally found out where it was until I did my report.