The official name of Madagascar is the Republic of Madagascar.
Madagascar is an island country, off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean.
Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world.
From 1895 France governed Madagascar. In 1960, the country became a fully independent country called the Malagasy Republic. It became the Democratic Republic of Madagascar in 1975 and the Republic of Madagascar in 1993.
The capital of Madagascar is Antananarivo, home to over 2 million people.
The official languages of Madagascar are Malagasy and French.
Madagascar is home to over 22 million people (22,599,098) as of July 2013.
The highest mountain in Madagascar is Maromokotro at 2876 m (9436 ft).
Madagascar is classed as one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries that are considered to be home to the majority of the worlds biodiversity. Over 70% of the 250,000 wildlife species found in Madagascar are found nowhere else in the world. While 90% of the estimated 14,000 plants native to Madagascar are also found nowhere else.
The lemur is only found in the wild in Madagascar. As of 2012, there were 103 living species of lemur in Madagascar, including sub-species. The majority of these are classified as rare or endangered. Several species of lemur such as the giant lemur have become extinct in the past, mainly due to extensive deforestation.
The unique ecology of Madagascar has led some scientists to refer to the country as the "eighth continent" of the world.
Madagascar has the 3rd largest coral reef system in the world, the Toliara coral reef, off the south-western coast.
Madagascar is one of the world’s main suppliers of vanilla and cloves, while coffee, lychees and shrimp are also important agriculturally. The country currently provides half of the world's supply of sapphires and produces a number of other precious and semi-precious stones.
Madagascar is a relatively poor country with approximately 70 percent of the population living below the national poverty line threshold of $1 per day.
The national sport of Madagascar is rugby, with football (soccer) also popular.
Madagascans have a number of traditional pastimes. Moraingy is a type of hand-to-hand combat, tolon-omby the wrestling of zebu cattle, is also popular in regional areas. While fanorona, is a famous a board game invented there.
For more information, check out maps of Madagascar or take a closer look at the Madagascan flag.