It's the world's fourth largest island. It was earlier called Malagasy Republic and is near the southeastern coast of the African continent. As a former French colony, French is quite widely used; but the Malagasy language which is of Malayo-Polynesian origin is spoken more commonly in the islands. There are many theories as to the origin of the Malagasy people. The most accepted one being that their ancestors were a mix of Africans and Indonesians. One of the rarest sights you can see is the diversity – a magnificent cluster of ecosystems, forests, deserts, geysers and volcanic mountains, a variety of cuisine, customs and traditions – all bound by a single language.
The island has such a rich flora and fauna that it's sometimes called the 'eighth continent'. Most of them are endemic to the island. It's mascot is the lemur, often portrayed in stories and films about Madagascar.