Madagascar the green island

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Madagascar the green island

Thekm2 of land were once covered with green rainforest, but the slash- and-burn techniques of the Malagasy farmers, later aggravated by commercial exploitation of the rainforest has led to heavy erosion, which has exposed the laterite soil all over the island. Because of this Madagascar is now called the "Red Island".

The remaining rainforest is to be found in the northern part of the island and on the east coast. The destruction of the endemic vegetation of Madagascar has left behind its red wounds especially in the south, where the environment can best be described as a semi-desert.

The third type of vegetation on the island, that Madagascar the green island remind the visitor a lot of Asia, is seen on the central highlands, which is the heart of the rice-production of the island. By Sandra Evers Journalist Arlette Kouwenhoven introduces the different regions of Madagascar to the reader by giving a description of the environment and its inhabitants.

Throughout the book the information is brought to life by pictures of the Malagasy photographer Toussaint Raharison. What does make "the Red Island" different from two other recent publications on Madagascar: Cultural wealth After the historical introduction, Kouwenhoven recounts the immigration history of the Malagasy population that started around the first century AD.

Madagascar the green island

Before the settlement of the first immigrants Madagascar is said to have been uninhabited. In her reconstruction of the past Kouwenhoven highlights the Asian and African migrations to Madagascar.

The origin of the Malagasy people is still a point of controversy among many Madagascar specialists. Above all a debate rages among linguists on the question of where in Asia the ancestors of the Malagasy came from and how they settled the island.

Did they come directly to Madagascar or did they settle first on the African east coast? Kouwenhoven is not interested in engaging in this discussion because she describes the history of Madagascar from a journalistic perspective.

She evades the immigration debate by choosing the theory that Madagascar was the last stop on the immigration route for Southeast Asian migrants.

According to this theory they settled first in Ceylon, the African east coast and the Comoros. Whether further research on the Malagasy immigration history will reveal the origin of the Malagasy population remains to be seen. At the moment we can be sure of two facts.

The Southeast Asian origin of the Malagasy people is underlined by the national language, Malagasy, which is an Austronesian language that is spoken all over the island. The African influence in the Malagasy population stems mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries, in which period many slaves from Mozambique and South Africa where transported to Madagascar.

The migrants who settled in different parts of Madagascar developed their own, social economic, and cultural systems, in which traces of the Asian and African past are still to be found. Today Madagascar has 18 official ethnic groups, but whether the use of the word ethnic is correct in the Malagasy context or whether we should speak rather of 18 different population groups are other burning points of discussion.

I do not really want to walk a tightrope here by joining in this discussion and, as I can conclude from her book, Kouwenhoven has not chosen this path either. In her "the Red Island" she takes the 18 officially acknowledged ethnic groups as reference points in the descriptions of the various parts of the island.

The central theme of the book is the cultural life of the Malagasy, which comes most strongly into its own in their rituals.

Kouwenhoven bases her information on a literature study of both published and unpublished material. Besides such armchair studies, she visited Madagascar four times in the past seven years to travel over the island.We call Madagascar "the green island" or "l'île verte" in french, due to its vegetation.

We also call it "the red island" or "l'île rouge" because at . Madagascar (/ ˌ m æ d ə ˈ ɡ æ s k ər /; Malagasy: Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar (Malagasy: Repoblikan'i Madagasikara Malagasy pronunciation: [republiˈkʲan madaɡasˈkʲarə̥]; French: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic, is an island country in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of East Africa.

The first migrants to arrive in Madagascar, between and years ago, were of Indonesian and Malay origin, from which the Merina ethnic group descended; subsequently, migratory flows of Bantu peoples left Africa, which gave rise to ethnic groups such as the Sakalava in the west and the Bara in the south of the island.

Madagascar is an island that is the fourth largest in the world. After Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo. A vast area of more than , square kilometers, however it is an island that is certainly although large and small islands around the world will look like the biosphere or unique biodiversity. Madagascar, the Red Island After Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo, Madagascar is the fourth largest island of the world.

The , km2 of land were once covered with green rainforest, but the slash- and-burn techniques of the Malagasy farmers, later aggravated by commercial exploitation of the rainforest has led to heavy erosion, . Madagascar: the red Island, the land of contrasts in Madagascar Views Madagascar is a large island located in the Indian Ocean km to the east of the African coast of Mozambique.

Madagascar - Wikipedia