The island of Madagascar is about 587, 000 square kilometers. It is the fourth largest island in the world. In terms of territory, it is surpassed only by Greenland, New Guinea and Kalimantan.
The small islet of Ile Sainte-Marie, located a few miles off the east coast of Madagascar, has received the title of Pirate Capital. For a long time, the island was a haven for thousands of sea robbers, because busy sea routes passed by the island .. Currently, 2/3 of the island's population are descendants of those very "gentlemen of fortune". There is still a pirate cemetery on the island.
In addition, there are rumors that treasures are buried here, the cost of which today amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars.
There are about 160 species of chameleons in the world. Almost half of them can be found only in Madagascar. It takes a chameleon only 20-30 seconds to change color.
In most countries of the world, such a disease as the plague is practically forgotten. But in Madagascar, its outbreaks are constantly recorded. Moreover, a sharp increase in the incidence has been noted over the past 20 years. Each such outbreak claims dozens of human lives.
Madagascar is often referred to as the Great Red Island. The soil on a large part of Madagascar does indeed have a reddish tint. The reason is that it contains deposits of iron and aluminum, which give this color.
It is not customary to clean the cobwebs in the houses of the inhabitants of Madagascar, since spiders are considered sacred here, they cannot be touched or harmed. Therefore, the web is an indispensable attribute of every home.
Madagascar is the largest vanilla exporter in the world. Local vanilla accounts for about 80 percent of the world's total supply of this spice. Interestingly, until the middle of the 19th century, vanilla grew only in Mexico, since only local bees of the Melibona variety could pollinate it. But, in 1841, a 12-year-old black slave named Edmond Albius discovered an artificial way to pollinate vanilla. Thanks to this, it spread throughout the world, including in Madagascar.
Before the appearance of Europeans, the locals did not shake hands when they met, but rubbed their noses and cheeks. In some places, the tradition has survived to this day. In some regions of Madagascar, another ancient rule is observed - the eldest son in the family has no right to shave as long as his father is alive.
During the Soviet era, Russian was taught in some schools in Madagascar, as local graduates often went to get higher education in our country.
Baobabs are one of the symbols of Madagascar. Driving along the road connecting the cities of Morundava and Beloni-Tziribiina, you can see the majestic alley of baobabs, which are more than 1000 years old. True, it is difficult to determine the age of a baobab, since this tree does not have annual rings. The only reliable way is radiocarbon analysis.
From 1828 to 1861 the island was ruled by Queen Ranavaluna I. There is a legend that this lady was distinguished by a tough disposition, for example, she executed those subjects who dared to appear in her dreams without an invitation.