Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Week 48: Madagascar

Week 48!!!!

I cannot believe we are already on week 48!  The journey is almost over, not that we aren't still enjoying the experience, but it is getting a little harder now that most of the major countries are done.  5 more weeks and we can end our journey knowing so much more about the world and it's cultures than we did a year ago!!  But, we've still got to do 5 more countries so let's get to work.  This week we picked...........

About the only thing I knew abut Madagascar was that it was an island somewhere off the coast of Africa and that's where lemurs come from. 

I did NOT know:
The Gondwana supercontinent

  • Madagascar is the 4th largest island in the world.  It was once attached to the Gondwana supercontinent but broke away over 80 million years ago and settled off the SE coast of Africa.  Scientists think it was attached near India, that was pretty far to travel!!

  • 90% of the wildlife found on Madagascar is found nowhere else on the planet.  Because it was so isolated the species developed their own unique features.

  • Over 22 million people live on Madagascar.  I had no idea it was that populated.  I think I was confusing it with the Galapagos Islands and thinking it was just animals and jungle!  People have been living on the island for over 2500 years, they were thought to have crossed the Indian Ocean from Indonesia

  • The capital city, Antananarivo, is the most populated city on the island.  It's coordinates are 18.93°S / 47.52° E.

  • Madagascar was once an important trading and refueling port for ships travelling the Indian Ocean.  It was also notorious for harboring pirates!!  Arrgh.

  • In 1895, France fought a war and took control of the island until 1960.  Their influence is seen in many of the recipes of the island and French is one of the official languages.  Malagasy is the other official language.

  • Since the introduction of people, farming, and cattle to the island, 90% of the forests have been cut down and many of the unique species have become extinct or endangered.  Some of them were the Giant Lemur and the Elephant Bird, which stood over 10ft. tall!

Wow, I sure didn't know much about Madagascar!  I guess the movie, Madagascar , wasn't a documentary?!  So are you telling me the national anthem of Madagascar isn't "I Like To Move It"?!?!

Well, it should be.  That song rocks.