Democratic Republic of Madagascar
République Démocratique de Madagascar;
Repoblika Demokratika n'i Madagaskar
CAPITAL : Antananarivo
FLAG : The flag consists of a white vertical stripe at the hoist flanked at the right by two horizontal stripes, the upper in red, the lower in green.
ANTHEM : Ry Tanindrazanay Malala O (Our Beloved Country).
MONETARY UNIT : The Malagasy franc ( FMG ) is a paper currency. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, and 250 Malagasy francs and notes of 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 2,500 5,000, 10,000, and 25,000 Malagasy francs. FMG 1 = $0.0001584 (or $1 = FMG 6,313) as of May 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is generally used.
HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Commemoration of 1947 Rebellion, 29 March; Labor Day, 1 May; Independence and National Day, 26 June; All Saints' Day, 1 November; Christmas, 25 December; Anniversary of the Democratic Republic of Madagascar, 30 December. Movable religious holidays include Good Friday, Easter Monday, Ascension, and Pentecost Monday.
TIME : 3 PM = noon GMT.
The principal and official languages are French and Malagasy. Malagasy is a Malayo-Polynesian language which has different but mutually intelligible dialects and is spoken throughout Madagascar. The Merina dialect has come to be considered the standard literary form of the language. Instruction in French is preferred by the coastal peoples, as it avoids connotations of Merina cultural dominance.
Madagascar was admitted to UN membership on 20 September 1960 and is a member of ECA and all the nonregional specialized agencies. It is also a member of the African Development Bank, G-77, the AU, and COMESA. Madagascar is a member of the nonaligned movement, a signatory to the Law of the Sea, and a member of the WTO. In 1973, Madagascar left OCAM and the franc zone.
Two offshore islands, Nosy Boraha and Nosy Be, are considered by Madagascar as integral parts of the country.
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American University. Indian Ocean: Five Island Countries . 3rd ed. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1995.
Covell, Maureen. Historical Dictionary of Madagascar . Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1995.
——. Historical Dictionary of Madagascar . [computer file] Boulder, Colo.: netLibrary, Inc., 2000.
Feeley-Harnik, Gillian. A Green Estate: Restoring Independence in Madagascar. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991.
Harmon, Daniel E. Southeast Africa: 1880 to the Present: Reclaiming a Region of Natural Wealth. Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House Publishers, 2002.
Huntington, Richard. Gender and Social Structure in Madagascar. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988.
Preston-Mafham, Ken. Madagascar: A Natural History. New York: Facts on File, 1991.