To celebrate 60 years of independence, Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina has pledged to plant 60 million new trees and restore the island to the green haven it once was.
The Malagasy Republic was proclaimed in 1958 as an autonomous state within the French Community. A period of provisional government ended with the adoption of a constitution in 1959 and independence in 1960.
The different Betsileo kingdoms (Fandriana, Fisakana, Manandriana, Isandra, etc.) existed independently of each other with oral traditions dating back to the 17th century.
The first period of Malagasy oral history is known as the Vazimba period, beginning with the Vazimbas’ establishment of kingdoms – often ruled by Queens – in the central Highlands region of Madagascar.
Archaeologists have estimated that the earliest settlers arrived from the Malay Archipelago between 250 BC and 550 AD, making Madagascar one of the last major landmasses on Earth to be settled by humans.