How do people live?
The influence of Asia can be felt everywhere in Madagascar, even if the African continent is much closer. You can also see this in house construction. Most of the houses are rectangular, have a north-south orientation and the entrance is on the west. The sunlight that falls through the window in the afternoon can also be used to roughly tell the time. Incidentally, only a small part of the houses is made of stone or cement. This is especially true in the country, in the city it looks different again, there are also multi-storey houses and of course houses made of stone. But a lot of people still live very simply.
All see black!
The people on the coast often build their houses on stilts. The walls are made of palm fronds or bamboo material. Simple mats woven from rice straw are placed on the clay floor. Almost every family stores rice somewhere.
The stone oven is usually in the western area of the house. As people cook in the house, the walls turn black from the soot. It’s probably not healthy, but the Malagasy people think it’s good, because it is the symbol of a house that has been around for a long time.
Only around half of the households have toilets. Furniture can only be found in some of the houses. But almost every household in Madagascar has a telephone.
Madagascar – beautiful and poor country
Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world. The economy is largely based on agriculture. However, many products are grown for personal use. There is also a little mining, fishing – especially shrimp here – and the manufacture of clothing. Madagascar also exports these goods.
The most famous product of Madagascar is vanilla. Their aroma is very popular with us. However, vanilla can only be harvested every two years. That’s why it’s very expensive. Even so, workers earn very little money. Many people live below the poverty line.
Why is that?
For a long time Madagascar was ruled by a dictator who put the money that should actually go to benefit his country into his own pocket. This also included funds for development aid. Before that, the colonial power France had exploited Madagascar and mined raw materials such as wood without paying attention to sustainability.
At the same time, the expansion of the transport network has received too little support, so it is still quite difficult to get goods from place to place. Then there is the situation of Madagascar, which results in a certain isolation for the country. Everything has to be transported by plane or ship.
Tourism could become important for Madagascar
Meanwhile, petroleum has been discovered in Madagascar, which is to be extracted more intensively in the future. At the same time, they focus on tourism. Madagascar is a country with an extraordinary flora and especially fauna. Here you can see animals that are otherwise only found in zoos. In the meantime, there is also hope for an increasing number of tourists who are supposed to bring money into the country.
Madagascar is a member of many international economic organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization.
History and Politics
Madagascar: a “young country”
It is not known who first settled in Madagascar, a country located in Africa according to franciscogardening. Some scientists suspect that it was Indonesians who entered the island 2000 years ago and stayed here. Later the Africans from the African continent joined them and mingled with the local population. But there are also other guesses. What they all agree on is the fact that it is a “young population” because there is no evidence of the Stone Age in Madagascar.
In the period around 800 to 900 AD, Arab traders landed on Madagascar’s coasts and a brisk trade began along the coast in the north. The Arab culture also influenced Madagascar.
The first Europeans
The first Europeans sighted Madagascar around 1500. But a few years should pass between a Portuguese seafarer’s first look at the island and the Europeans getting a foothold. This only happened at the end of the 17th century. At that time Madagascar was the “island of pirates”. It was on the sea route to India. This was ideal for pirates who went for prey.
Kingdom of Merina
The first kingdom was founded on the west coast in the 18th century. A second kingdom emerged in the remaining areas, the kingdom of Merina with a famous king named Radama I. He approached the English and opened the country to the British. So the first missionaries came to Madagascar to spread the Christian faith there.
Madagascar as a colony of France
In 1883 the French occupied Madagascar and made it a French colony. They mainly had spices grown here and exported them to France. Vanilla, which is still an important export good for Madagascar’s economy, is particularly famous. The Madagascans resisted French rule – there were uprisings in 1918 and 1947 – but Madagascar only became independent in June 1960.
From 1975 Didier Ratsiraka ruled the country dictatorially. He was only overthrown in 1991. But he came back to government and ruled until 2001.
That year, a new president named Marc Ravalomanana came to power and promised democratic reforms to the country. He had to resign in 2009. He was accused of corruption. As of 2014, Hery Rajaonarimampianina was President.
The next presidential elections in Madagascar took place on November 7th and December 19th, 2018 and Andry Rajoelina, who has held the presidency in Madagascar since January 2019, was elected after a runoff election.