Madagascar has some of the world’s most unusual flora and wildlife, including lemurs (primitive cousins of primates, apes, and humans), colorful chameleons, gorgeous orchids, and towering baobab trees.
In Madagascar, you can see a cobweb in all houses, and no one removes it – local traditions prohibit doing this. But there are benefits from these traditions, since the spiders that weave it are not dangerous for people, and at the same time, they exterminate other insects that pose a certain threat to people.
Every year, in Madagascar, there are outbreaks of the plague, a neglected disease that killed tens of millions of people in the past. In nature, plague is carried by various rodents, some of which are eaten by residents. Even though the plague bacillus quickly dies during heat treatment, every year, from several hundred to several thousand people fall ill here.
Madagascar is rapidly losing the remnants of its forests. In an attempt to earn money, residents mercilessly cut down all trees in a row to make charcoal out of wood and sell it. At this rate, not a single tree will remain here on the whole island in fifteen to twenty years.
Moving around Madagascar is not always safe. Here conflicts occur between numerous tribes, which from time to time result in armed confrontations. However, compared to most other African countries, it is still relatively safe here.
For zoologists and botanists, Madagascar, the fourth largest island on Earth, is extremely delightful. More than 90% of all plants and animals found here are endemic, that is, they are not found anywhere else in the world at all. The most interesting representatives of the local fauna are lemurs, truly unique animals. Extinct in mainland Africa, lemurs survived on the island only because the higher primates could not get here.
This island was a colony of France in the past, and the French influence is felt here even now. French is the official language in Madagascar, along with Malagasy, and in cities, baguettes (long loaves of bread ) and other pastries like croissants are sold on every corner.
Madagascar ranks first in the world for the production of vanilla. One curious incident is connected with this circumstance – the Coca-Cola company, which was the main buyer of this product, at some point switched to its synthetic analog, having refused further purchases. This hit the Madagascar economy so hard that it provoked a real crisis here.
The history of Madagascar is extremely interesting. About 160 million years ago, it separated from Africa, and 70 million years ago – from India! And the first settlers here were people from Asia, from the Philippines, and the Sunda Islands. Later, Bantu settlers from Africa arrived here, followed by other peoples. They all mixed with each other, giving rise to a unique Malagasy ethnos.
The whole of Madagascar is occupied by one country of the same name, and its area reaches 587 thousand km², which is approximately equal to the area of Spain. There are relatively few people living here, about 25 million people, but this figure is growing rapidly. On average, Madagascar has just over five births for every woman.
One of the unofficial names of Madagascar is “The Great Red Island”. The soil here really has a reddish tint almost everywhere due to the saturation of certain minerals. There are beaches, limestone, volcanic rocks, and much more – the island is very diverse.