Happy independence day Madagascar

Madagascar gained its independence on 26 June 1960 from France.Things you may not know about Madagascar:

– Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world – after Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo.
– Madagascar split away from the African continent about 180 million years ago. About 80 million years ago the landmass broke away from India. Therefore it has a very unique flora and fauna.
– Despite being 12 times closer to Eastern Africa, the first settlers of Madagascar were actually of Malayo-Indonesian descent – migrating from Indonesia, Sumatra, and Java. Eventually, people began emigrating from Eastern Africa and are now well dispersed throughout the country.
– There are 18 main ethnic groups in Madagascar among them the Merina, Betsileo, and the Sakalava. About a quarter of the population belong to the Merina ethnic group, making them the largest ethnic group in Madagascar.
– The masonjoany is a face mask or face painting used to protect the skin from the sun. Girls and women of the Sakalava people also often show beautifully painted faces to proclaim their belonging to this ethnic group.
– Malagasy and French are the official languages in Madagascar.
– The country is also known as the “Great Red Island” for its iron-rich red soil. Intensive red soil is found mainly in the central highlands.
– Madagascar is one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world. 
– The baobab are a tree species that is endemic to Madagascar.
– There are 101 species of lemurs in the world, all of them living only in Madagascar. Lemurs are the world’s most endangered mammals.
– Rice is the most exported agricultural product of Madagascar.
– Madagascar is the world’s largest vanilla export country and produces about half of the world’s vanilla crops.
– Madagascar has numerous natural resources such as graphite, rare earth elements, coal, quartz or semiprecious stones and seafood, of course.
– There are more than 12,000 species of diverse plants growing in Madagascar. Beyond traditional herbal remedies, species such as the Madagascar periwinkle, are harvested to produce drugs used to treat Hodgkin’s disease and cancer.

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