Culture Madagascar

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Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Madagascar

Madagascar : Discover the country's culture


Works by Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo, Raharimanana and Rabemananjara Jacques.


Madagascar: The Bradt Travel Guide (Bradt)
Madagascar (Country Guides)
Madagascar (Lonely Planet Country Guide)
Madagascar Wildlife: A Visitor's Guide (Bradt Travel Guide)


'Island of Ghosts' by Rossy.
'The New Voice of Madagascar: Omeko Anao' by Hanitra.
'Soro' by Miary Lepiera.

Madagascar : Discover the country's history

Historical dates

By 500: settlements in the island. Uninterrupted migration of Africans and Indonesians until the 13th century.
By 800: Arab-Swahili trade posts on the north coast. Internal settlements.
1500: the Portuguese navigator Diego Dias stops over. He names the island Sao Lorenzo.
16th century: expansion of merina (highlands), sakalavas (west) betsimisarakas (east) kingdoms.
Beginning of 17th century, the capital of the kingdom of Merinas is Analamanga, today Antananarivo.
1643: Frenchmen open a trade post in Taolagnaro (Fort-Dauphin). It is abandoned in 1674. Starts the era of pirates.
1787-1810: Andrianampoinimerina, king of the Merinas, begins to dominate the island.
1810-1828: Radama 1st continues the unification and opens his kingdom to westerners. He opens the gates of the island to missionaries. When he dies, the Merinas conquer the whole island except a few western and southern territories.
1828-1861: Queen Ranavalona 1st reigns, rejects foreign influence.
1845: her army forces back two European naval landing attempts.
1857: Europeans are suspected of plot and expelled from the island.
1861-1863: reign of Radama II.
1863: Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony marries Queen Rasoherina. He leads the island for thirty years. The state is modernised and the administration reinforced. A civil and penal Code is drafted.
1875: the island's map is drawn by the explorer Alfred Grandidier.
1885-1896: French protectorate.
1895: France invades the island. After nine months of war, Antananarivo falls but the queen maintains her throne. Insurrections in the island.
1896: the French parliament votes in favour of an annexation. The monarchy is abolished. The governor of Madagascar, Gallieni, exiles the queen to Algiers.
1896-1913: the French administration comes up with taxes, duties, obligatory tasks and provides infrastructure in the island (roads, hospitals, schools).
1904: the code of nativeness is created, by which Malagasies have no political rights.
From 1913: the resistance is organised and nationalist ideas start spreading.
1946: the island becomes an overseas territory (OST). Three Malagasy parliamentarians sit in Paris.
1947: an insurrection burst out, leaving thousands of people dead.
1956: institution of the universal suffrage. An independent government is formed and led by Philibert Tsiranana.
1958: October 14th, the Republic of Madagascar is proclaimed.
1960: independence is proclaimed on June 26th. Cooperation Agreements with France.
1972-1975: the 1972 revolution puts General Ramanantsoa in power.
1975: Admiral Didier Ratsiraka takes over power. Nationalization, malagasization and decentralization. Cooperation agreements with socialist nations. General impoverishment.
1990: movement of the Active Forces. End of Ratsiraka's reign. Elections won by Albert Zafy in 1993. After the failures of eight governments in three years, Zafy is relieved of his duties.
1997: Ratsiraka is reelected. He opens the island to westerners, including France.
April 29th 2002: Marc Ravalomanana is officially proclaimed winner of December 16th 2001 presidential elections and he rules the country since July 2002.
December 2006: Marc Ravalomanana is reelected president with a large majority of 54.8 %.

Madagascar : Stay up to date on the country's holidays and events


January 1st: New Year's Day.
Malagasy New Year day depends on the year.
March 29th: Day of the martyrs of the 1947 insurrection.
April/May: Santabary : Celebrating the first rice harvest
May 1st: Labour Day.
May 25th : O.A.U day (Organisation of African Unity).
May/June: Nosy Be's traditional music festival.
June 26th: Independence Day.
August 15th: Assumption.
November 1st: All Saints' Day.
November/December: Music festival (Gasytsara).
December 25th: Christmas Day.

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