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Madagascar can be divided into five geographical regions: the east coast, the Tsaratanana Massif, the central highlands, the west coast, and the southwest. The highest elevations parallel the east coast, whereas the land slopes more gradually to the west coast.

The east coast of Madagascar has lowlands leading to steep bluffs and central highlands. The Tsaratanana Massif in the north has volcanic mountains. The west coast has many protected harbors and broad plains, while the southwest is a plateau and desert region.

There are two seasons: it is hot and rainy from November to April, and cooler and dry from May to October. Southeastern trade winds dominate, and there are occasional cyclones.

Brief History of Madagascar

The written history of Madagascar began in the 7th century, when Arabs established trading posts along the northwest coast. European contact began in the 1500s, when Portuguese sea captain Diego Dias sighted the island after his ship became separated from a fleet going to India. In the late 17th century, the French established trading posts along the east coast. From about 1774 to 1824, it was a favorite haunt for pirates, including Americans, one of whom brought Malagasy rice to South Carolina.

During the Middle Ages, the chiefs of the different settlements on the island began to extend their power through trade with Madagascar's Indian Ocean neighbors, notably North Africa, the Middle-east and India. Large chiefdoms began to dominate considerable areas of the island. Among these were the Sakalava chiefdoms of the Menabe, centered in what is now the town of Morondava, and of Boina, centered in what is now the provincial capital of Mahajanga (Majunga). The influence of the Sakalava extended across what is now the provinces of Antsiranana, Mahajanga and Toliara. But with the domination of the Indian Ocean by the British fleet and the end of the Arab slave trade, the Sakalava would lose their power to the emerging Merina threat. For a short time the Betsimisaraka of the east coast also unified, but this unification was short-lived.

Information provided by Wikipedia

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Public Holidays in Madagascar
New Year's Day - January 1
Easter - April 6-9
Memorial Day or Martyr's Day - March 29
Labour Day - May 1
Independence Day - June 26
Assumption - August 15
National Day - June 26
St Vincent de Paul Day - September 27
All Saints Day - November 1
Christmas - December 25
Boxing Day - December 26
Anniversary of the Republic - December 30