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  • 1. officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip ofthe Malay Peninsula, 137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the equator. An island country madeup of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and fromIndonesias Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait to its south. The country is highlyurbanised with very little primary rainforest remaining, although more land is being createdfor development through land reclamation.Singapore had been a part of various local empires since it was first inhabited in the secondcentury AD. It hosted a trading post of the East India Company in 1819 with permissionfrom the Sultanate of Johor. The British obtained sovereignty over the island in 1824 andSingapore became one of the British Straits Settlements in 1826. Occupied by the Japanesein World War II, Singapore declared independence, uniting with other former Britishterritories to form Malaysia in 1963, although it was separated from Malaysia two yearslater. Since then it has had a massive increase in wealth, and is one of the Four AsianTigers. Singapore is the worlds fourth leading financial centre, and its port is one of thefive busiest ports in the world. The economy heavily depends on the industry and servicesectors.Singapore is a parliamentary republic with a Westminster system of unicameralparliamentary government. The Peoples Action Party (PAP) has won every election sinceself-government in 1959. The legal system of Singapore has its foundations in the Englishcommon law system, but modifications have been made to it over the years, such as theremoval of trial by jury. The PAPs popular image is that of a strong, experienced andhighly-qualified government, backed by a skilled Civil Service and an education systemwith an emphasis on achievement and meritocracy; but it is perceived by some voters,opposition critics and international observers as being authoritarian and too restrictive onindividual freedom.Some 5 million people live in Singapore, of whom 2.91 million were born locally. Most areof Chinese, Malay or Indian descent. There are four official languages: English, Chinese,Malay and Tamil. One of the five founding members of the Association of South EastAsian Nations, Singapore also hosts the APEC Secretariat, and is a member of the EastAsia Summit, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Commonwealth.EtymologyThe English name of Singapore is derived from the Malay Singapura (Sanskrit "LionCity"), thus the customary reference to the nation as the Lion City. Lions probably never livedthere; the beast seen by Sang Nila Utama, founder of ancient Singapore, who gave the city itsname, was most likely a tigerHistoryThe earliest known settlement on Singapore was in the second century AD. It was anoutpost of the Sumatran Srivijaya empire, named Temasek (sea town). Between the 16th
  • 2. and early 19th centuries, it was part of the Sultanate of Johor. In 1613, Portuguese raidersburnt down the settlement and the island sank into obscurity for the next two centuries.[12]In 1819, Thomas Stamford Raffles arrived and signed a treaty with Sultan Hussein Shah onbehalf of the British East India Company to develop the southern part of Singapore as aBritish trading post. In 1824 the entire island became a British possession under a furthertreaty whereby the sultan and the Temenggong transferred it to the British East IndiaCompany. In 1826 it became part of the Straits Settlements, a British colony. By 1869,100,000 people lived on the island.[13]In World War II the Imperial Japanese Army invaded Malaya culminating in the Battle ofSingapore. The British were defeated, and surrendered on 15 February 1942. British PrimeMinister Winston Churchill called this "the worst disaster and largest capitulation in Britishhistory".[14] The Japanese occupied Singapore until the British repossessed it in September1945 after the Japanese surrender.[15]Singapores first general election in 1955 was won by the pro-independence DavidMarshall, leader of the Labour Front. Demanding complete self-rule he led a delegation toLondon but was turned down by the British. He resigned on return and was replaced byLim Yew Hock, whose policies convinced Britain to grant Singapore full internal self-government for all matters except defence and foreign affairs.[16]In elections in May 1959 the Peoples Action Party won a landslide victory andimmediately made Singapore a self-governing state within the Commonwealth, with LeeKuan Yew as the first prime minister.[17] Governor Sir William Allmond Codrington Goodeserved as the first Yang di-Pertuan Negara, and was succeeded by Yusof bin Ishak who in1965 became the first President of Singapore.[18]Singapore declared independence from Britain on 31 August 1963 before joining the newFederation of Malaysia in September along with Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak as the resultof the 1962 Merger Referendum. Tunku Abdul Rahman separated Singapore from theFederation two years later after heated ideological conflict between the ruling parties ofMalaya and Singapore.[3]Singapore gained sovereignty as the Republic of Singapore (remaining within theCommonwealth) on 9 August 1965[3] with Yusof bin Ishak as president and Lee Kuan Yewstill as prime minister. In 1967 it helped found the Association of Southeast Asian Nations[19] and in 1970 it joined the Non-aligned movement. In 1990 Goh Chok Tong succeededLee as prime minister. During his tenure the country faced the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis,the 2003 SARS outbreak and terrorist threats posed by Jemaah Islamiyah. In 2004 LeeHsien Loong, eldest son of Lee Kuan Yew, became the third prime minister.GeographySingapore consists of 63 islands, including the main island, widely known as SingaporeIsland but also as Pulau Ujong.[34] There are two man-made connections to Johor, Malaysia:
  • 3. the Johor–Singapore Causeway in the north, and the Tuas Second Link in the west. JurongIsland, Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin and Sentosa are the largest of Singapores smallerislands. The highest natural point is Bukit Timah Hill at 166 m (545 ft).[35]There are ongoing land reclamation projects, which have increased its land area from581.5 km2 (224.5 sq mi) in the 1960s to 704 km2 (272 sq mi) today; it may grow by another100 km2 (40 sq mi) by 2030.[36] Some projects involve merging smaller islands throughland reclamation to form larger, more functional islands, as with Jurong Island.[37] About23% of Singapores land area consists of forest and nature reserves.[38] Urbanisation haseliminated most primary rainforest, with Bukit Timah Nature Reserve the only significantremaining forest.[37]Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate with no distinctive seasons, uniform temperatureand pressure, high humidity, and abundant rainfall. Temperatures usually range from 23 to32 °C (73 to 90 °F). Relative humidity averages around 79% in the morning and 73% in theafternoon.[39] April and May are the hottest months, with the wetter monsoon season fromNovember to January.[40] From July to October, there is often haze caused by bush fires inneighbouring Indonesia.[41] Although Singapore does not observe daylight saving time, itfollows time zone GMT+8, one hour ahead of its geographical location.[42]DemographicsAs of 2010, 5.1 million people live in Singapore, of whom 3.2 million (64%) are Singaporecitizens while the rest (36%) are permanent residents or foreign workers. 2.9 million people(57%) were born in Singapore while the rest are foreign-born. The median age ofSingaporeans is 37 years old and the average household size is 3.5 persons.[91][92] In 2010,the total fertility rate was 1.1 children per woman, the third lowest in the world and wellbelow the 2.1 needed to replace the population.[6] To overcome this problem, the Singaporegovernment is encouraging foreigners to immigrate to Singapore. The large number ofimmigrants has kept Singapores population from declining.[93]About 40 per cent of the population are foreigners, the sixth-highest percentage in theworld.[94] The government is considering capping these workers, although it is recognisedthat they play a large role in the countrys economy.[95] Foreign workers make up 80% ofthe construction industry and up to 50% in the service industry.[96][97]In 2009, 74.2% of residents were of Chinese, 13.4% of Malay, and 9.2% of Indiandescent.[98] Prior to 2010, each person could register as a member of only one race, bydefault that of his or her father. From 2010 onwards, people may register using a "double-barrelled" classification, in which they may choose one primary race and one secondaryrace, but no more than two.LanguagesSingapore has four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil.[104] English isthe first language of the nation and is the language of business, government and medium of
  • 4. instruction in schools.[105][106] The Singapore constitution and all laws are written inEnglish.[107] 80% of Singaporeans are literate in English as either their first or secondlanguage. Chinese Mandarin is the next commonly spoken, followed by Malay andTamil.[100][108] Singaporean English is based on British English,[109] and forms of Englishspoken range from Standard English to a pidgin known as Singlish. Singlish is heavilydiscouraged by the government.[110] According to the 2010 official census, nearly one inthree Singaporeans speak English as their home language.[111]Chinese is the most common home language, used by about half of all Singaporeans.[103]Singaporean Mandarin is the most common version of Chinese in the country,[112] with1.2 million using it as their home language. Nearly half a million speak other Chineselanguages (which the government describes as "dialects"), mainly Hokkien, Teochew, andCantonese, as their home language, although the use of these is declining in favour ofMandarin and English.[113]Malay is the "national language", a ceremonial rather than functional designation to reflectthe countrys history.[114][115][104] It is used in the national anthem "Majulah Singapura"[116]and in military commands. Today Malay is generally spoken within the Singaporean Malaycommunity, with only 16.8% of Singaporeans literate in Malay[117] and only 12% using itas their home language.[103] Bazaar Malay was historically the lingua franca in Singapore,until it was eclipsed by English, especially after independence.[118] Around 0.1 million or3% of Singaporeans speak Tamil as their home language.[103] Even though only Tamil hasofficial status, there have been no attempts to discourage the use or spread of other Indianlanguages.CultureRacial and religious harmony is regarded by the government as a crucial part of Singaporessuccess and played a part in building a Singaporean identity.[137] Due to the many races andcultures in the country, there is no single set of culturally acceptable behaviours. The country isgenerally conservative socially but some liberalisation has occurred.[138] Foreigners also make up42% of the population[94][113] and have a strong influence on Singaporean culture. A.T. Kearneynamed Singapore the most globalised country in the world in 2006 in its Globalization Index.[139]The Economist Intelligence Unit in its "Quality-of-Life Index" ranks Singapore as having the bestquality of life in Asia and eleventh overall in the world.[140] The Singapore dream is often satiricallyand light-heartedly portrayed as the "5 Cs" of Singapore – cash, credit cards, car, condominiumand country club membership.CuisineDining, along with shopping, is said to be the countrys national pastime.[142] The diversity of foodis touted as a reason to visit the country,[143] and the variety of food representing differentethnicities is seen by the government as a symbol of its multiculturalism.[144] The "national fruit" ofSingapore is the Durian[145] In popular culture, food items belong to a particular ethnicity, withChinese, Indian, and Malay food clearly defined. The diversity of cuisine has been increased
  • 5. further by the "hybridization" of different styles, e.g. the Peranakan style, a mix of Chinese andMalay cuisine.ArtsSince the 1990s, the government has been promoting Singapore as a centre for arts and culture, inparticular the performing arts, and to transform the country into a cosmopolitan gatewaybetween the East and West.[146] One highlight was the construction of Esplanade, a performingarts centre opened in October 2002.[147] The annual Singapore Arts Festival is organised by theNational Arts Council. The stand-up comedy scene has been growing, with a weekly open mic.[148]Singapore hosted the 2009 Genee International Ballet Competition, a classical ballet competitionpromoted by Londons Royal Academy of DanceSport and recreationPopular sports include football, basketball, cricket, swimming, sailing, table tennis andbadminton. Most Singaporeans live in public residential areas near amenities such as publicswimming pools, outdoor basketball courts and indoor sport complexes. Water sports arepopular, including sailing, kayaking and water skiing. Scuba diving is another recreation,particularly around the southern island of Pulau Hantu, known for its rich coral reefs.[150]Singapores football (soccer) league, the S-League, formed in 1994,[151] currently comprises12 clubs including foreign teams.[152] The Singapore Slingers, formerly in the AustralianNational Basketball League, is one of the inaugural teams in the ASEAN BasketballLeague, founded in October 2009.[153] Singapore began hosting a round of the Formula OneWorld Championship in 2008. The race was staged at the Marina Bay Street Circuit andbecame the first night race on the F1 circuit[154] and the first street circuit in Asia.[155]Singapore won the bid to host the inaugural 2010 Summer Youth OlympicsEspañolLa República de Singapur es una isla y ciudad-estado situada al sur del Estado de Johoren la Península de Malasia y al norte de las islas Riau de Indonesia, separada de éstas porun estrecho. Con 707,1 km², es el país más pequeño del Sudeste de Asia. Singapur es elcuarto centro financiero más importante del mundo, y juega un papel muy importante en elcomercio internacional y la economía mundial. Además, es el segundo país con másdensidad de población en el mundo, después de Mónaco.HistoriaLa isla, anteriormente llamada "Temasek", fue bautizada "Singapura" en el siglo XIV por elpríncipe Parameswara. Este territorio adquirió considerable importancia en el siglo XIV,
  • 6. pero fue destruido por los javaneses y quedó desierto hasta el año 1819, cuando el británicoStamford Raffles fundó un establecimiento en el sitio donde actualmente se encuentra lamoderna ciudad. El sultán de Johore y Temenggong arrendó este territorio a la Compañíade las Indias Orientales Británica. A través de un tratado, en 1824 se cedió la isladefinitivamente a la compañía a cambio de una renta vitalicia al sultán de Johore. En el año1826 se unió Singapur a Penang y Malaca, quedando su control en manos de un gobiernocon presidencia india y residencia en Penang. En 1830 se reunieron bajo la presidencia deBengala, trasladándose la residencia a Singapur. El 1 de abril de 1867 la autoridad de estostres establecimientos pasó del gobierno indio al ministro inglés de colonias. Las islasCocos, la isla Christmas y la antigua colonia de Labuan, fueron organizadas bajo el controldel gobernador de las Straits Sttlements (Estrechos Malayos) e incorporadas a Singapur en1900, 1903 y 1907, respectivamente. Singapur se constituyó como colonia separada en elaño 1912, siendo utilizada como base naval hasta la ocupación japonesa.5Durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, a partir del 15 de febrero de 1942 la isla cayó bajodominio del Imperio Japonés, que la atacó desde tierra aprovechando que las defensas de laciudad estaban orientadas hacia el mar, siendo la mayor humillación británica sufrida en laguerra, ya que no sólo fue una derrota militar, sino que también fue un duro golpe a ladominación occidental en toda Asia.En 1959, Lee Kuan Yew fue elegido Primer Ministro. Su partido, el Partido de Acción delPueblo (Peoples Action Party), propone entonces la integración en la Federación deMalasia, lo cual se consigue en septiembre de 1963. Poco después, en 1964, las diferenciasse manifiestan y la secesión de la República de Singapur es acordada, siendo proclamada el9 de agosto de 1965.GeografíaSingapur se sitúa entre Malasia, con la que limita al norte, e Indonesia al sur. Esta isla estáunida a la península malaya por dos puentes. El primero lleva a la ciudad fronteriza deJohor Bahru en Malasia. El segundo, más al oeste, conecta también con Johor Bahru en losbarrios de la región de Tuas.El clima es tropical húmedo, con temperaturas de 30 °C de máximas y 23 °C de mínimasdurante todo el año. La humedad es alta y hay un fuerte bochorno.DemografíaEn 2007 Singapur tenía 4.553.000 habitantes, la esperanza de vida era de 81 años, el 92,5%de la población estaba alfabetizada y el promedio de hijos por mujer era de tan sólo 1,07.Después de Mónaco, Singapur presenta la mayor densidad de población del mundo. El 85%de sus habitantes viven en municipios como Tampines en viviendas públicas construidaspor el House Development Board (HDB).
  • 7. La diversidad étnica de la población es muy marcada: los chinos representan el 76,8%; losmalayos el 13,9%, los indios el 7,9% y el 1,4% restante proviene de diversos países, sobretodo occidentales.La diversidad étnica también se pone de manifiesto en las lenguas oficiales. A pesar de serun país muy pequeño, posee cuatro idiomas con el estatuto de oficial: inglés, chino(mandarín), tamil y bahasa (ambos: el indonesio y el malayo). Toda la población debe serbilingüe, aprendiendo inglés y uno de los otros tres idiomas, dependiendo este otro delorigen de los padres. Si ninguno de los padres es de alguna de las etnias que hablan uno delos otros idiomas (aparte del inglés), éstos pueden entonces escoger cuál de los otros tresidiomas estudiarán sus hijos en la escuela.MADAGASCARThe Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeasterncoast of Africa. The nation comprises the island of Madagascar which, at 587,000 squarekilometres (227,000 sq mi), is classified as the fourth-largest island in the world, as well asnumerous smaller peripheral islands, the largest of which include Nosy Be and Nosy BorahaThe prehistoric breakup of the Gondwana supercontinent separated the Madagascar-Antarctica-India landmass from the Africa-South America landmass around 135 millionyears ago. Madagascar later split from India around 88 million years ago, allowing plantsand animals on the island to evolve in complete isolation. Consequently, Madagascar is abiodiversity hotspot in which over 80% of its plant and animal species are found nowhereelse on Earth. These are dispersed across a variety of ecoregions, broadly divided intoeastern and south-central rain forest, western dry forests, southern desert and spiny forest.The islands diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife are severely threatened by humansettlement and traditional slash-and-burn practices (tavy) which have denuded Madagascarof as much as 90% of its original forest cover. Under the administration of former PresidentMarc Ravalomanana, the government of Madagascar partnered with the internationalcommunity to implement large-scale conservation measures tied to ecotourism as part ofthe national development strategy. However, under Rajoelinas caretaker government therehas been a dramatic increase in illegal logging of precious woods and the poaching and saleof threatened species such as lemurs in Madagascars many national parks, several of whichare classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.Most archaeologists believe Madagascar was first inhabited sometime between 300 BCEand 500 CE by Austronesian peoples arriving on outrigger canoes from Borneo in theIndonesian archipelago who were later joined around 1000 CE by Bantu migrants crossingthe Mozambique Channel. Arab, East African, Indian, Chinese and European (primarilyFrench) migrants settled on Madagascar over time, each one making lasting contributionsto Malagasy cultural life. The Malagasy ethnic group is often sub-divided into sixteen ormore sub-groups of which the largest are the Merina of the central highlands aroundAntananarivo, and the Betsimisaraka people of the eastern coast around Toamasina. TheAustronesian origins of the earliest population are evident not only in the physicalappearance of many Malagasy people, but also in cultural practices related to the veneration
  • 8. of ancestors, the prevalence of the valiha (a bamboo tube zither of East Asian origin) inMalagasy musical traditions, architectural methods and norms, and a cuisine based on ricethat establishes the Malagasy people as the largest rice consumers per capita in the world;European, Asian and Indian influences are also evident in local cuisine. The firsttranscription of Malagasy using Arabic script (sorabe) and certain elements of Malagasycosmology were introduced by Arabs, while Bantu influences are evident in the spiritualand monetary value placed on zebu. Malagasy, the Austronesian language spoken invarious forms by the vast majority of the population, is the national language and one oftwo current official languages alongside French. The majority of the population adheres toa combination of traditional beliefs and Christianity, but followers of other faiths such asIslam and Hinduism are found in smaller numbers throughout the country.Until the late 18th century, the island of Madagascar was populated by a fragmentedassortment of shifting socio-political alliances of varying sizes. Beginning in the early 19thcentury, however, the majority of the island was united and ruled as the Kingdom ofMadagascar by a series of nobles (andriana) of the Merina ethnic group. The monarchycollapsed when the island was conquered and absorbed into the French colonial empire in1896, from which the island gained independence in 1960. The autonomous state ofMadagascar has since undergone four major constitutional periods, including a post-colonial First Republic under President Philibert Tsiranana (1960–1972), a Soviet-stylesocialist Second Republic under Admiral Didier Ratsiraka (1975–1991), and a democraticThird Republic under successive presidents Albert Zafy, Didier Ratsiraka and MarcRavalomanana (1992–2009). Since 1992 the nation has officially been governed as aconstitutional democracy from its capital at Antananarivo by an elected president whoserves a renewable five-year term and is supported by the prime minister he or shenominates. However, following a popular uprising in 2009 instigated by then-mayor ofAntananarivo and TGV political party president Andry Rajoelina, Ravalomanana waspressured to resign. Presidential power was then unconstitutionally transferred to Rajoelinawith the support of a portion of the military. A 2010 constitutional referendum ushered inthe Fourth Republic in which the nation continues to be managed by Rajoelinas unelectedcaretaker government known as the High Transitional Authority (HAT). Rajoelina (b.1974), currently the youngest head of state in Africa, has failed to secure recognition fromthe international community, which largely views the current administration as illegitimateand has widely characterized Rajoelinas seizure of power as a coup détat.In 2010, the population of Madagascar was estimated at around 20 million, 85% of whomlive on less than two dollars per day. Ecotourism, agriculture, expansion of internationaltrade and greater investments in education, health and private enterprise are key elements ofMadagascars development strategy. Under Ravalomanana, these investments producedsubstantive economic growth but the benefits were not evenly spread throughout thepopulation, producing tensions over the increasing cost of living and declining livingstandards among the poor and some segments of the middle class. Current and futuregenerations in Madagascar are faced with the challenge of striking a balance betweeneconomic growth, equitable development and natural conservation.Geography
  • 9. At 587,000 square kilometres (227,000 sq mi), Madagascar is the worlds 46th-largestcountry and the fourth-largest island. It is slightly larger than France, and is one of 11distinct provinces of the South African Platform physiographic division. The country liesmostly between latitudes 12°S and 26°S with a small area lying north of 12°, andlongitudes 43°E and 51°E. The prehistoric breakup of the Gondwana supercontinentseparated the Madagascar-Antarctica-India landmass from the Africa-South Americalandmass around 135 million years ago. Madagascar later split from India around 88million years ago, allowing plants and animals on the island to evolve in completeisolation.[7]The capitol of Madagascar, the city of Antananarivo, is located in the highlands, a plateauregion in the center of the island ranging in altitude from 2,450 to 4,400 ft (747 to 1,341 m)above sea level. The densely populated central highlands are characterized by terraced,rice-growing valleys lying between grassy, deforested hills. Here, erosion has exposed theislands red laterite soil, source of the countrys sobriquet "The Red Island". Along theeastern, windward side of the island, a steep and mountainous escarpment drops abruptlyfrom the Central Highlands to the Indian Ocean. This eastern terrain hosts most of the lastremaining pockets of tropical rainforest that formerly covered the entire island ofMadagascar. The Canal des Pangalanes is a chain of man-made and natural lakesconnected by French-built canals just inland from the east coast, running parallel to it forsome 460 km (286 mi) (about two-thirds of the eastern length of the island). The westernand southern sides, which lie in the rain shadow of the central highlands, are home totropical dry forests, thorn forests, and deserts and xeric shrublands. Presumably due torelatively lower population densities, Madagascars dry deciduous rain forest has beenbetter preserved than the eastern rain forests or the original woodlands of the high centralplateau. The descent from the central highlands toward the west is gradual. The westerncoast features many protected harbours, but silting is a major problem caused by sedimentfrom the high levels of inland erosion carried by rivers crossing the vast westernplains.[citation needed]The islands highest peak, Maromokotro, at 2,876 metres (9,436 ft), is found in theTsaratanana Massif, located in the far north of the country. The Ankaratra Massif is in thecentral area south of Antananarivo and hosts the third highest mountain on the island,Tsiafajavona, with an altitude of 2,642 metres (8,668 ft). Further south is the AndringitraMassif with several peaks over 2,400 metres (7,900 ft) including the second and fourthhighest peaks, Pic Imarivolanitra, (more widely known as Pic Boby) at 2,658 metres / 8,720feet and the 2,630 metres / 8,630 feet-high Pic Bory. The massif contains the AndringitraReserve and includes both Pic Soaindra (2,620 metres / 8,600 feet) and Pic Ivangomena(2,556 metres / 8,386 feet). On very rare occasions, this region experiences snow in winterat its high altitudesEarly historyMost archaeologists estimate that the earliest settlers arrived in outrigger canoes fromsouthern Borneo between 200 BCE and 500 CE, making Madagascar one of the last majorlandmasses on Earth to be settled by people.[26] Upon arrival, early settlers practiced tavy
  • 10. (swidden, slash-and-burn agriculture) to clear the virgin coastal rainforests for thecultivation of their crops.[27] The first settlers encountered Madagascars wealth ofmegafauna, including giant lemurs, elephant birds, giant fossa and the Malagasyhippopotamus, which have since become extinct due to hunting and habitat destruction.[28]By 600 CE groups of these early settlers had moved inland and began clearing the forests ofthe central Highlands. Irrigated rice paddies emerged in highland Betsileo country by 1600and were complemented with terraced paddies throughout Imerina a century later.[29] Zebuwere introduced around 1000 CE by Bantu-speaking East African migrants who maintainedlarge herds. The rising intensity of land cultivation and the ever-increasing demand for zebupasturage in the central highlands had largely transformed the region from a forestecosystem to barren grassland by the 17th century.[30]Merina oral histories tell of migration from the southeast coast to the central highlandswhere the Merina encountered an established population called the Vazimba, who mayhave been the descendants of an earlier and less technologically advanced Austronesiansettlement wave.[31] The Vazimba were vanquished by 16th and early 17th-century Merinakings Andriamanelo, Ralambo and particularly Andrianjaka, who founded Antananarivoaround 1625 upon the site of a captured Vazimba capital on the hilltop of Analamanga.Merina legends relate that the Vazimba were largely driven from the Highlands or absorbedinto the local population through intermarriage.[32] In the popular imagination today, theVazimba are frequently characterized as powerful and even monstrous spirits (sometimeswith pygmy-like features) that must be appeased because of their status as tompon-tany orancestral masters of the land.[27]The written history of Madagascar begins in the 7th century when Arabs established tradingposts along the northwest coast and introduced Islam, the Arabic script (used to transcribethe Malagasy language in a form of writing known as sorabe), Arab astrology and othercultural elements.[8] European contact began in 1500, when the Portuguese sea captainDiogo Dias sighted the island.[33] The French established trading posts along the east coastin the late 17th century, around the same time that Captain Misson and his pirate crewallegedly founded the famous pirate utopia of Libertalia on the small island of Nosy Borahaoff Madagascars northeastern coast. From about 1774 to 1824, Madagascar was a favoritehaunt for pirates.[34]Madagascar was an important transoceanic trading hub connecting ports of the IndianOcean in the early centuries following human settlement. Later, it gained prominenceamong pirates and European traders, particularly those involved in the trans-Atlantic slavetrade. The wealth generated by this trade spurred the rise of organized kingdoms, some ofwhich had grown quite powerful by the 17th century.[35] Among these were theBetsimisaraka alliance of the eastern coast and the Sakalava chiefdoms of Menabe andBoina on the west coast. The Kingdom of Imerina, located in the central highlands with itscapital at the royal palace of Antananarivo, likewise emerged at around the same timeunder the leadership of King Andriamanelo.[36]Demographics
  • 11. Madagascars population is predominantly of mixed Austronesian (i.e. South-EastAsian/Pacific Islander) and African origin.[76] Those who are visibly Austronesian inappearance and culture are the minority, found mostly in the highland regions. Recent DNAresearch shows that the Malagasy people are approximately of half Austronesian and halfEast African descent, although some Arab, Indian and European influence is present alongthe coast.[77]Subsequent migrations from the East Indies and Africa consolidated this original mixture,and over a dozen distinct tribal groups emerged. Austronesian features are mostpredominant in the Merina (3 million); the coastal people (called côtiers) have relativelystronger African origins. The largest coastal groups are the Betsimisaraka (1.5 million) andthe Tsimihety and Sakalava (700,000 each). The Vezo live in the southwest. Two of thesouthern tribes are the Antandroy and the Antanosy. Other tribes include Tankarana(northern tip), Sihanaka and Bezanozano (east), Tanala (south-east), An-Taimoro,Tambahoaka, Zafisoro, An-Taisaka and Timanambondro (south-east coast), and Mahafalyand Bara (south-west). Chinese and Indian minorities also exist, as well as Europeans,mostly French. In 1958, there were 68,430 European settlers living in Madagascar.[citationneeded] The number of Comorans residing in Madagascar was drastically reduced after anti-Comoran rioting in Mahajanga in 1976.[8]During the French colonial administration (1895–1960) and some time after independence,people were officially classified in ethnic groups. This practice was abandoned in the firstcensus (1975) after independence[citation needed] so any recent classification and figures forethnic groups is an unofficial estimate. There is for instance no mention of ethnicity orreligion in the national identity cards. Also, territorial divisions (provinces, regions) do notfollow any ethnic division lines, despite an attempt by the colonial administration in theearly 20th century. Ethnic divisions continue, and may cause violence, but their role islimited in todays society. Political tensions between the highlanders and coastal populationperiodically flare up into limited violent conflict. Regional political parties are also rare,although some parties receive most of their support in certain areas.[citation needed] Only twogeneral censuses, 1975 and 1993, have been carried out after independence. In 1993 (lastcensus) there were 18,497 foreign residents on Madagascar, or 0.15% of the populationCultureMalagasy culture reflects a blend of Southeast Asian, Arab, African and Europeaninfluences.Houses in Madagascar are typically four-sided with a peaked roof similar to thosecommonly seen in Southeast Asia, rather than the circular style of hut more commonlyfound in Eastern Africa. Malagasy architecture varies widely depending on locallyavailable materials and practical needs. Most traditionally, homes are built from plantmaterials; this form of construction remains prevalent outside of the central Highlands andmajor urban areas. In the Highlands, houses are most often two-story brick structures,occasionally with pillars supporting a front veranda. The orientation and interior layout ofhomes in traditional communities often followed certain cosmological norms. This tradition
  • 12. has been increasingly abandoned over the past century, as has the use of traditional buildingmaterials among the upper classes for whom imported materials and foreign constructionstyles are associated with modernity and prestige.[88] Tombs are culturally significant inmany regions and tend to utilize stone in their constructionThe zebu (humped cattle), introduced to Madagascar by Bantu-speaking East Africanmigrants around 1,000 years ago, have come to occupy an important place in traditionalMalagasy culture. The animal can take on sacred importance and constitutes the wealth ofthe owner, a tradition originating on the African mainland.[90] Cattle rustling, originally arite of passage for young men in the plains areas of Madagascar where the largest herds ofcattle are kept, has become a dangerous and sometimes deadly criminal enterprise asherdsmen in the southwest attempt to defend their cattle with traditional spears againstincreasingly armed professional rustlers. Where African influences are strongest, as in thesouthern region around Tulear, wealth and social status are traditionally measured incattle.[90]Arab and Somali traders who called on the ports of Madagascar in the Middle Ages,although few in number compared to the Indonesians and Bantus, had a deep influence onthe island and the coastal regions in particular.[citation needed] The Malagasy names forseasons, months, days, and coins are Arabic in origin, as is the practice of circumcision, thecommunal grain pool, and different forms of salutation. The Antaimoro people ofsoutheastern Madagascar claim to be direct descendants of early Arab immigrants, and overat least the past five hundred years, the acclaimed ombiasy (astrologers) of this ethnic grouphave served as privileged counselors to the nobles of various communities across the island.The cuisine of Madagascar likewise reflects diverse influences from around the world. Rice formsthe basis of every meal in most parts of Madagascar,[91] which has the highest per capita rate ofrice consumption in the world.[92] The dishes prepared to accompany the rice vary depending onlocal availability of food products and are known as laoka. Many of these dishes reflect theculinary influences of Indian, Chinese, French and other arrivals to the island. A wide variety ofsnacks and street foods are eaten, particularly mofo (fritter or cake-like treats).[93] In the arid southand west, rice may be supplanted by cassava (yuca), sweet potatoes and corn and supplementedwith curdled or fresh zebu milk.[94] Rum (toaka gasy) and betsabetsa are two forms of traditionalspirits produced on the island. Wine and beer are also locally produced, as are cocoa, tea andcoffee, the latter widely consumed throughout the island. Herbal teas, sodas and fruit juices arealso popular drinks.ArtsArtistic traditions on the island of Madagascar are highly diverse and distinctive.One of the islands foremost artistic traditions is that of its oratory as expressed in the formsof hainteny (poetry), kabary (public discourse) and ohabolana (proverbs).[citation needed] Anepic poem showcasing these traditions, the Ibonia, has been handed down over thecenturies in several different forms across the island and offers insight into the diverse
  • 13. mythologies and beliefs of traditional Malagasy communities.[96] Storytelling and proverbsenabled traditional communities to express and preserve their histories and worldview andtransmit it to future generations. The supernatural is featured in many of these stories,including witchcraft, the intercession of god or the ancestors, and the existence of a varietyof fantastical creatures. Chief among these are the vazimba, the supposed first inhabitantsof Madagascar who have in popular memory been transformed into capricious spirits that,if angered, will interfere in the lives of the living.[97]Madagascar has also developed a distinctive and rich musical heritage. The earlyAustronesian settlers brought with them the predecessor to the bamboo tube zither knownas the valiha - considered the national instrument of Madagascar - as well as numerousother instruments that constitute the foundation of traditional Malagasy music.[98] Theinfluence of African musical tradition manifests in certain drumming and polyharmonicsinging styles, particularly among the western and southern coastal communities, while thetendency toward minor chords in these regions reflects an Arab musical influence.[99]Europeans likewise contributed to Malagasy musical traditions, importing the guitar,accordion, piano and the instruments used in hiragasy performance including the violin,trumpet and clarinet.Sport and recreationA number of traditional pastimes have emerged in Madagascar. Maraingy, a type of hand-to-hand combat, is a popular spectator sport in coastal regions. It is traditionally practicedby men, but women have recently begun to participate. The wrestling of zebu is alsopracticed in many regions. In addition to sports, a wide variety of games are played.Fanorona is a board game that is associated with the Merina sovereigns and is widespreadthroughout the Highland regions. According to folk legend, the succession of KingAndrianjaka after his father Ralambo was partially due to the unhealthy obsession thatAndrianjakas older brother may have had with playing fanorona to the detriment of hisother responsibilities.[citation needed]Western sports were introduced to Madagascar over the past two centuries. Football andrugby are especially popular. Pétanque, a French game similar to lawn bowling, is alsowidely played in urban areas and particularly throughout the Highlands. Madagascar hasproduced a world champion in pétanque.EspañolMadagascar, oficialmente República de Madagascar, es una nación insular situada en elocéano Índico, frente la costa sureste del continente africano, a la altura de Mozambique.Además es la isla más grande de África y es la cuarta isla más grande del mundo. Estáseparada del continente por el canal de Mozambique. Hay que destacar que antiguamente laisla se encontraba unida al continente africano, del cual se separó, lo que ha hecho que elaislamiento originado a raíz de la separación sea la causa de la conservación en su territorio
  • 14. de multitud de especies únicas en el mundo. Así, alberga el 58% de las especies deanimales y plantas del mundo (del cual más del 80% son endémicas de Madagascar). De lasmás notables son los lémures que son una infraorden de primates, el fossa carnívoro, tresfamilias endémicas de aves y seis especies endémicas de baobabs. En efecto, se encuentradentro de la lista de países megadiversos.1El gentilicio de Madagascar es malgache (no madagascarense), y el idioma nacional es elmalgache.HistoriaEl primer asentamiento humano data probablemente del siglo IV o poco antes,en cualquiercaso no hay pruebas de que hubiese presencia humana alguna antes del nacimiento deCristo. Pese a que la distancia de Madagascar al punto más cerca de África es de 416 km(cerca de Lumbo, en Mozambique) y que la distancia al punto más cerca de Indonesia (enla isla de Siberut) está a más de 5.500 kilómetros, Madagascar fue colonizado por estosúltimos antes que por los africanos.3 Por ello los lugareños conservan rasgos asiáticos,costumbres típicas del sureste de Asia y una lengua del tronco malayo-polinesio.3 Con ellostambién llegaron sus animales domésticos, entre los que destaca el cebú, y poco después desu llegada se extinguieron varios animales endémicos de la isla, como el lémur gigante, elcerdo hormiguero de Madagascar, un hipopótamo pigmeo similar al que se encuentraactualmente en África occidental.Posteriormente hubo migraciones bantúes desde el continente que se fundieron con lapoblación local, sobre todo en la parte este de la isla. A comienzos de la Edad Mediallegaron los primeros comerciantes persas y hacia el año 1000, los árabes. Fruto de suestancia es el que, en la parte norte de la isla se practique actualmente el Islam.Durante los dos siglos siguientes, Portugal, España, Gran Bretaña y Francia intentaroninstalarse en la costa, pero fueron expulsados por la resistencia de los nativos, que a finalesdel siglo XVII se habían unificado bajo el reino de Imerina, con base en la meseta central.Sin embargo la población local también sufrió, como muchos pueblos africanos, elcomercio de esclavos. Así, a modo de ejemplo, esclavos malgaches fueron llevados poreuropeos al Virreinato del Perú, asentándose principalmente en la costa norte de dicho paísen una zona conocida como Piura.Actualmente en Perú, descendientes de aquellos esclavos son conocidos como "mangaches"por una corrupción del idioma en el tiempo. Incluso existe en Perú un lugar bautizado como"Hacienda Malakasy" que data de la época en que los malgaches fueron explotados en elcultivo del campo y que evoca el nombre de su país de origen pero pronunciado en supropio idioma. Estos descendientes de malgaches conservan aún en muchos casos losrasgos afro-indonesios originarios. Su imbricación con el Perú fue tan fuerte quecontribuyeron a la cultura de este país creando formas musicales como el tondero e inclusotuvieron influjo en el campo político pues el ex presidente peruano Luis Miguel SánchezCerro, que gobernó aquel país en el tercer decenio del siglo XX fue un "mangache".
  • 15. Hubo una época en que los forajidos y bucaneros recorrieron sus costas. El capitánholandés Van Tyle navegó en consorcio con el capitán James e hizo varias presas en elocéano Índico. Van Tyle poseía una plantación en Madagascar, en donde trabajaban susprisioneros y esclavos. Este pirata fue asesinado por un esclavo. El pirata Thomas Tewtambién tenía su cuartel en Madagascar. Su lugar de operaciones fueron las aguas del marRojo y el océano Índico. Tew murió al estallar su barco durante un combate en alta mar. Elmás célebre pirata de esta región fue Thomas Collins, quien fue designado gobernador de lacolonia pirata y construyó un fortín para su defensa. Pero cuando la isla fue atacada por lasfuerzas francesas, Collins fue ajusticiado en la horca. 4Desde 1642 hasta 1674 los franceses quisieron ocupar las costas de Madagascar desde FortDauphin, sin conseguirlo. Aunque finalmente consiguieron construir diferentes basescomerciales en las costas malgaches, unas veces por la fuerza y otras diplomáticamente, afinales del siglo XVIII. Durante las Guerras Napoleónicas, el rey Radama I de Imerina sepuso del lado de los británicos, que aumentaron su influencia en la isla a costa de losfranceses y entrenaron a los nativos en el uso de armas modernas. No obstante, a la muertede Radama I en 1828 se persiguió a los británicos, incluidos los misioneros. Durante elreinado de Radama II (1861–1863) se introdujeron una serie de reformas modernistas yMadagascar se abrió al contacto con franceses y británicos, lo que causó que los sectoresmás tradicionalistas mataran al rey y dieran marcha atrás a los cambios.La última soberana de Madagascar fue la reina Ranavalona (1851 – 1916). Durante sureinado los franceses reclamaron parte de la costa noroeste que los jefes locales les habíancedido, pero los de la tribu de Imerina se negaron. El resultado de dicha negación fue laguerra (1882 – 85). A pesar del continuo apoyo de los ingleses, deseosos de establecer porlo menos su influencia sobre el territorio, los rebeldes tuvieron que firmar un tratado en porel cual la ciudad de Diego Suarez fue entregada a Francia y toda la isla pasó a formar partede su protectorado. Durante la revuelta, la frágil economía de la isla y la falta de monedas,hizo que la reina Ranavalona permitiera la circulación legal de diferentes piezas extranjerasen todo el territorio. Para ello se estampó una marca circular con la letra “R”, leyenda“ROYAUME DE MADAGASCAR” y fecha. Se conocen piezas de 8 reales españoles, 5francos franceses y talers de la reina María Teresa de Austria con esta curiosa contramarca.5 Francia se anexionó la isla por completo en 1895 tras derrotar a la reina Ranavalona. Éstase exilió un año después, al tiempo que se instituía un mandato militar francés yMadagascar era proclamada colonia francesa.Ya en 1916 los franceses tuvieron problemas con las organizaciones secretas nacionalistas,pero lograron mantener el orden. Francia sólo perdió el control de la isla durante 1942,cuando los británicos la ocuparon por miedo a que Japón se hiciera con Madagascar. En1943 fue entregada a la Francia libre, y en 1946 dejó de ser colonia y se convirtió enterritorio de ultramar francés. Esto no impidió que al año siguiente estallase una revueltaque forzó a Francia a convocar elecciones en la isla, que ganaron los independentistasmoderados. En 1960 Madagascar se independizó totalmente de Francia y se instituyó unarepública bajo el gobierno de Philibert Tsiranana, líder del Partido Socialdemócrata.En 1975 hubo un golpe de estado militar que puso el gobierno en manos del capitán defragata Didier Ratsiraka, que gobernó con puño de hierro hasta que en 1992 las presiones
  • 16. populares le obligaron a designar un gobierno de transición a la democracia. Ratsiraka fuederrotado en las elecciones presidenciales de 1993 por Albert Zafy, pero ganó laslegislativas que se celebraron simultáneamente. La situación de tensión entre los partidariosde Ratsiraka y el gobierno de Zafy llevó a la destitución de este último por el parlamento en1996, siendo sustituido por Norbert Ratsirahonana. Éste era un colaborador cercano de Zafyque gobernó bajo su sombra hasta las elecciones de 1997, en las que Ratsiraka se hizonuevamente con el poder.Didier Ratsiraka conservaría el poder hasta las elecciones presidenciales de diciembre de2001, cuando tras unos resultados controvertidos, su rival, el hasta entonces alcalde deAntananarivo Marc Ravalomanana se declaró ganador por mayoría absoluta de la primeravuelta de las elecciones, acusando de fraude al gobierno, que había publicado unosresultados que hacían necesaria una segunda vuelta.La tensión de la primera mitad del año 2002 llegó a amenazar con la posibilidad de unaguerra civil. La sociedad y el propio ejército malgaches se dividieron en dos, con la capitalAntananarivo convertida en bastión de Ravalomanana, mientras Ratsiraka dirigía ungobierno en la ciudad costera de Toamasina. La comunidad internacional hizo diversosllamamientos al diálogo y a la calma. Ravalomanana consiguió consolidar su poder,mientras Ratsiraka iba perdiendo apoyos. En junio de 2002, algunos países como EstadosUnidos, Suiza y Noruega reconocían ya al gobierno de Ravalomanana. Otros paíseseuropeos esperaron la decisión final de Francia que, a principios de julio, ya se dirigíapúblicamente a Ravalomanana como «presidente de Madagascar». El reconocimientointernacional confirmó el poder de Ravalomanana, y Ratsiraka huyó finalmente del país,refugiándose en Francia.Desde la consolidación del poder por parte de Marc Ravalomanana, el país ha conseguidoalcanzar unas cotas muy altas de crecimiento económico, apoyado por ayudas muycuantiosas de instituciones internacionales como el Banco Mundial.Demografía