Amazing Madagascar: 14 facts about the exotic country from the cartoon
What have you heard about Madagascar? Is it the same exotic country from the incredibly popular cartoon where zebras, hippos and lions live? Why, as everything there is much more interesting, although the above-mentioned animals have never been on this island? Let's break it down.
- Madagascar is considered the largest country among those that occupy a single island. To understand its scale, imagine two Great Britain or five Iceland. In total, the area of the state is more than 587 thousand square kilometers, and the coastline extends almost 5 thousand kilometers.
- Scientists believe that Madagascar is the first island on earth. It broke away from the supercontinent of Gondwana millions of years ago. And although now the country is territorially referred to Africa, but originally it was close to India.
- The bulk of the island's population is Malagasy. They are the indigenous people of Madagascar. Not surprisingly, their language is the main state language. By the way, in translation, the name of the country means "the edge of the earth". This is due to the fact that the Indian tribes, who first settled this territory, believed that there is nothing further than the ocean.
- For a long time Madagascar was a colony of France, so today French is the second official language on this island. Almost everyone speaks it, but it is rarely used in communication. After all, Malagasy is native for these people.
- Now let's move on to disproving the myths. Madagascar does not have lions, penguins, hippos, giraffes and zebras. However, there are many other animals that cannot be found in any other part of the world. For example, zebu, a type of cow, which are considered sacred animals. There are also a lot of lemurs. And these are not friendly fluffy animals, they can be aggressive towards people. The largest predators of the island are the fossas. They have the body of a cat and a nose like dogs. That's why they look like real "catdogs".
- There is also a lot of greenery here. A total of 15 thousand species of plants can be seen on the island, among which are various palms, orchids and unusual baobabs. Madagascar boasts an abundance of protected areas, as well as 20 national parks included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- Like many such islands, Madagascar suffers from total forest destruction. Since the first humans settled here, about 90% of the trees have already disappeared. And this figure is growing every year due to the impact of deforestation for timber or clearing land for development. And the more the tourist business develops and the faster new hotels are built, the poorer the flora and fauna of this amazing region become.
- The inhabitants of Madagascar are very superstitious people. They believe in hundreds of omens and observe rules incomprehensible for Europeans. For example, in some parts of the island sons do not have the right to shave while their fathers are alive. Another curious tradition concerns greetings. Here it is not customary to shake hands. Instead, people rub their cheeks or noses (it all depends on how close they are to each other).
- You will definitely see a lot of dust and cobwebs in the houses of Madagascans. And while the former is difficult to explain, the latter is quite simple. The cobwebs are used by some women to make cloth. So, in one of the museums in the United States you can see such a cloth with a size of 3 square meters. It took a lot of time to make it. Only spiders for this purpose were caught for 4 years.
- The inhabitants of Madagascar are deeply religious people. And although officially most of them observe Christian traditions, but in fact the cult of ancestors is still widespread here. And this is evident from many things familiar on the island. For example, the biggest fear of the people here: that they will not be buried in the family crypt. And it is also customary here to ask advice or permission from deceased relatives, to communicate with them and constantly remember them.
- And there is also a very interesting attitude to time. If you ask how long, for example, the road to your destination will last, you may hear: "How long is the rice boiling." Here they measure everything not by hours, but by processes. And it is almost impossible to get used to it.
- Madagascar now lives from tourism and exports of minerals, coffee, lychee and shrimp. For a long time, however, vanilla production was the main earner. So when Coca-Cola, which was the main buyer of this spice, switched to a cheaper substitute, vanillin, the state took a significant financial hit.
- The cuisine on the island is very spicy and rich. Most dishes are prepared from rice, as in India. To it they add vegetables, seafood, meat and a lot of spices. Also here they love cheese, so it is in many local recipes.
- And here's an interesting fact. Almost in no institution in Madagascar it is not customary to leave tips. Of course, no one will refuse them, but they will not demand it.
In general, Madagascar is a very beautiful and unusual island. And although there are predators here, and sharks often swim near the shore, you should still come here. Just follow basic advice and avoid places that may pose a threat. And be sure to make all the necessary vaccinations to avoid catching any disease.
Earlier OBOZREVATEL told unusual facts about Jamaica.