Madagascar is a large island located off the southeastern coast of Africa. Geologically, Madagascar is considered a continental island. This means that it was once connected to a larger landmass. Some experts believe that the larger landmass in this case was the supercontinent Gondwana.
Here are ten interesting facts many people don’t know about the island country.
- Over millions of years, tectonic movements and plate shifts caused Madagascar to separate from the African continent, resulting in its current isolated position.
- As a continental island, Madagascar has a distinct geological history and a diverse range of unique flora and fauna that evolved in isolation.
- It has the Baobab Trees (Adansonia spp.): Madagascar is home to several species of baobab trees, known for their massive trunks, long life (living thousands of years) and distinct appearance.
- It has the Madagascar Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus): This flowering plant is known for producing compounds with medicinal properties, and it has been used to develop treatments for various diseases.
- It has the Ravinala (Traveler’s Palm) (Ravenala madagascariensis): Despite its name, the traveler’s palm is not a true palm. It is a striking plant with fan-like leaves that are arranged in a way that collects water, making it a valuable source of hydration for travelers.
- It has Lemurs: Madagascar is famous for its diverse and unique lemurs, such as the ring-tailed lemur, the indri, and the aye-aye. Lemurs are considered sacred in Madagascar and involved in folk tales involving humans.
- It has the Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox): The fossa is a carnivorous mammal native to Madagascar . It is also 1known for its cat-like appearance and behavior.
- It has the Madagascar Chameleon (Calumma spp.): The island is home to a wide variety of chameleon species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. These chameleons are known for their vibrant colors and remarkable ability to change their skin color.
- One of the precolonial kingdoms of the island nation was the kingdom of Imerina. It was notable for its Queens, grand palaces, artwork, centralised political organisation, and hierarchical society. There were also other communities on the island which used the decentralised democratic Republican model of leadership structured as commonwealth of elected village and town council of leaders. This diversity in political and social structures showcases the rich history and cultural complexity of Madagascar before colonial influences.