It is the second largest country island and the fourth largest island in the world. The Republic of Madagascar is an island country in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa and is approximately 400 kilometres off the coast of East Africa. It is home to some of the world’s most intriguing animal species, including the rare ring-tail lemur. We take a look at some of the fantastic facts you may never have known about this beautiful African country.
1. The hidden Island
Madagascar is roughly 592,800 kilometres square in physical size. It is therefore quite puzzling that the island was not discovered for some unassailable 300,000 years after the first sighting of the African Homo Sapiens. That’s as far back as 500 AD before adventurous explorers encountered this island country.
2. Wildlife’s paradise
Human influence across the planet has significantly impacted on the profoundly dwindling numbers of wildlife populations. Perhaps thanks to the absurdly long time it took humans to discover this hidden piece of paradise and the island’s undisturbed animal habitats, a number of animal species, some only found here, found a safe haven for themselves in Madagascar. Conservation International even recognized Madagascar as one of just 17 countries throughout our planet. It is considered to be “mega-diverse” thanks to the abundance of a wide variety of animal species, including half of the world’s chameleon population.
3. Home to some of the world’s most intriguing species
We have already established that this beautiful island country is home to some pretty unparalleled, diverse animal populations. Madagascar is, however, as well home to some of the most uncommon species of animals you could not imagine encountering anywhere. Animals like the Malagasy giant rat that can leap an astounding 3 feet into the air, aye-aye lemur that has a freakishly long middle finger that is essentially an evolutionary adaptation that lets the lemur access hard to reach meals wedged deep in tree trunks or barks, and the giraffe-necked weevil whose appendage helps it roll leaves into tubes for its eggs. These are just but a few mentions from a wide variety of other equally mind-boggling animal species.
4. Home to some of the World’s most impressive heritage sites
The Royal Hill of Ambohimanga highlights the heritage pride that Madagascar boasts of. It is a 500-year burial site, and it is home to irreplaceable historical accounts that tell of the yesterdays of this country. The rainforest of Atsinanana is home to a wide variety of animal species. At the same time, the Tsingy Bemaraha strict nature reserve is home to a naturally occurring labyrinth of limestone, which covers a considerable part of the island’s western part. There clearly wouldn’t be a shortage of places to visit when in Madagascar.
5. Cannabis lovers
Marijuana is often quite a controversial topic whenever brought up and especially when it involves entire nations. In Madagascar, though, Malagasies, citizens of Madagascar, have a different perspective when it comes to marijuana consumption. According to the United Nations Office of Crime and Drugs, at least 1 in 10 Malagasies consume marijuana. This translates to quite a significant number considering Madagascar is estimated to be home to upwards of 20 million people.
6. Generalized fashion trend
Throughout our existence, it is safe to say that fashion choices have been a huge and significant part of our civilized development. When it comes to being aware of how we appear and what we move around in, our profound consciousness has given rise to diverse fashion trends that are ever-evolving. In Madagascar, this has not quite been the case, both men and women have been traditionally accustomed to the same type and design of garments throughout their history. The rectangular cloth that covers the full length of their bodies only slightly varies in design to suit different occasions.
7. Bare-knuckle fight anyone?
Most forms of sports across the world are relatively less physically confrontational. When they are, most of them usually have some pretty intricate measures to ensure they remain entertaining while keeping participants safe. Malagasies, on the other hand, have a little known sport called the Moraingy, which is basically a bare-fist combat sport. 300 miles to the east of Madagascar, this sport has been traditionally observed both for sport and as a reunion activity.
8. Ranked among the world’s unhappiest places
It would probably be hard to believe if you were told that there is a study that aims at essentially gauging happiness levels of mass populations of countries and determining the priority of government efforts. The World’s Happiness Report found that Madagascar is the 14th least happy country out of a studied 156 countries worldwide. However, it is not too surprising that this is the case with a per capita GDP of $1,554 (putting it 179th out of 187 nations) and an average life expectancy of just 65.5.
9. Iron-fist queen ruler
Massive population drops highlighted her rule, and between 1833 and 1839, Madagascar’s population drastically dropped from 5 million to 2.5milion. Queen Ranavalona was ruthless and unforgiving in her ways, and just like the typical tyrants and dictators, she utilized slave labor to fulfill her worldly pleasures, including building the monumental Rova Antananarivo, which still stands in Madagascar’s capital. She repelled foreign influence from the British and other countries that looked to colonize this island country.
10. No death penalty
Madagascar is among the most recent countries to do away with the death penalty from its Justice system. Doing so in 2015, Madagascar joined other African countries like Congo, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Guinea, and Togo. However, it is not a reprieve for wrong-doers as such as there are equally hefty consequences that anyone wouldn’t prefer.