The population of the island

In Malagasy enigmatic question, who are you ? The answer is difficult and complex because the Malagasy people is the result of successive migrations of different origins . Two chronologies determine the period of early settlement of the island. The first is to start occupations in the fifth century BC and the second set in the sixth and seventh centuries AD the first immigrations .

The Malayo -Polynesian and Indonesian immigration

These “proto- Malagasy ” would come firstly in Indonesia and Southeast Asia and Madagascar would have approached from the west and northwest. According to one hypothesis , some of these people would first established in the Comoros archipelago before reaching the Great Island . Oral tradition places ” Vazimba ” as the first inhabitants of the island. ( They could be the first immigrants). A. Grandidier in 1869 could see the last vestiges of this company in the gorges of Vazimba Manambolo ( west of Madagascar ) and said: ” It follows from what I have seen and learned by their manners , by their language and their traditions, Vazimba relate to the great Malagasy family whose origin seems Indonesian shown me ” ( in Journal , notes, acknowledgments and explorations Volume V , 2nd sem. , 1903, p.101 , Antananarivo . official Imp. ) . ” In reality, there is no place to ethnic distinction between the Merina and Vazimba . In most cases , they are simply called Vazimba the earliest ancestors of the clan established in the country ” ( to Renel after C. ” Ancestors and Gods” Bulletin of the Malagasy Academy in 1920 , 1921 , P 41. ) “Dia olona hiany tahak izoa olona izoa ” . They were people like those of today . According . ” Tantara ny Andriana eto Madagasikara ” trad . Oral Madagascar collected by RP Callet – 1908. Antananarivo . Vazimba these populations were also fought and absorbed by the latest wave of immigrants Indonesians who occupied the central highlands of the island.

The Arab and African Immigration

After the Indonesians and Malayo – Polynesian , it is the turn of the Semites and Islamized Arabs to settle on the periphery of Madagascar . Thus at the end of the first millennium , Arabs, then great navigators and traders scour the Indian Ocean. They set many outlets , including the north -west and north -east of Madagascar . These counters will mostly destroyed by Portuguese sailors in the sixteenth century. Some people in the south -east still claim the Arab immigration to Islamic traditions. ( Antemoro , Antambahoaka … ) . Evidence on the existence of African populations , likely from Mozambique were also found in the sixteenth century by Portuguese navigators . The slave trade from the coast of East Africa has been largely responsible for this African immigration. Some of these descendants is commonly called ” Makoa ” are mainly located along the northwest coast of the island .

Attempts to European settlement

The first European to discover the Big Island will be Portuguese . In 1500 , Diego Dias addresses by randomly Malagasy coast . Madagascar becomes a stopover on the way to India and been many attempts to European settlements. After the Portuguese ( sixteenth century ) , it was the turn of the Dutch ( late sixteenth century ) and English ( seventeenth century ) to try to establish colonies . Outside the Dutch who voluntarily abandoned the Antongil bay in favor of the Cape , these attempts ended in failure . The French began the only real attempt at colonization and settled for thirty years (1642-1672) on the site of Fort Dauphin. Later and until the nineteenth century , with many counters installed along eastern coast of French and Creole contractors will conduct a flourishing trade between Madagascar and Ile Bourbon ( Reunion ) as well as the Isle de France ( Mauritius ) .


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