Timeline of Madagascar


First settlers arrive in Madagascar

0 A.D. - 500 A.D.

These settlers come from islands in the Malay Archipelago.

Arab Merchants begin trading along the northern coast of Madagascar

800 A.D.

Between 800 A.D. and 900 A.D. Arab Merchants start trading along the coast of Madagascar.

Diego Daz is the first European to discover Madgascar

August 10, 1500 A.D.

Diego Daz is a Portuguese sailor who discovers Madagascar after he is blown off course on his way to India. He renames the island St. Lawrence.

Pirates rule the east coast of Madagascar

1600 A.D. - 1700 A.D.

Pirates ruled from the late 1600's A.D. to the early 1700's A.D.

The Sakalava establish the first kingdom in Madagscar

1700 A.D.

The Sakalava were one of the many local tribes of Madagascar coming from the west of the island. Their kingdom spanned from the northern tip to the southwest along the western coast

Merinas establish their first kingdom


The rivals of the Sakalavas, the Merinas, establish their first kingdom. Their land covers a large portion of the island and becomes the biggest kingdom on the island.

Radama I unifies Madagascar

1810 - 1828

Radama I was from the Merina tribe which was another one of the ethnic tribes of Madagascar. With help from the British, Radama was able to unify Madagascar except for the Sakalava kingdom. British missionaries spread Christianity and record the Malagasy language. A small Industrial Revolution also takes place.

Ranavalona I becomes queen

1828 - 1861

Ranavalona I comes to power after her husband Radama I dies. She focuses on isolating Madgascar from European influence as well as preserving traditions. She is also known as "Ranavalona the Cruel" because her achievements as queen included persecuting Christians, exporting foreigners, executing political rivals, expanding her kingdom, killing babies born on unlucky days and more.

Radama II succeeds his mother

1861 - 1863

During his reign, Radama II restores connecting with foreign countries and ends the persecution of the Christians.

Treaties are signed with England and France

1865 - 1868

Franco-Malagasy War

1883 - 1885

Peace agreement is signed with France

December 17, 1885

This peace agreement gives France more influence on the activities of Madagascar.

British recognize French protectorate over Madagascar


France invades Madgascar

December 1894

France takes over the capital Tana

October 1, 1895

France adds Madagascar as a colony


France adds Madagascar as a colony and unifies it under a single government

First uprising against French rule


Occupied by British while maintaining ties with France's Vichy government

1941 - 1942

When the Nazis took over France, they set up the Vichy government. This forced France's colonies to decide whether or not to fight German occupation or go with it. Madagascar chose to fight against the Nazis with the help of the British. The island remained occupied by the British until the Vichy commander retreated and later France was able to regain control.

British hand over Madagascar to the French Free Movement

Jan 8, 1943

Madagascar rebels against French colonial rule

March 29, 1947

The French crush the rebellion led by Jean Ralaimongo, and about 80,000 Malagasy are killed. This what became known as Martyr's Day which was first celebrated 20 years later in 1967.

Malagasy Republic - autonomous within the French Community

October 14, 1958

Madagascar - renamed the Malagasy Republic - becomes autonomous within the French Community. This was a major step towards Malagasy independence.

Madagascar gains independence from France

June 26, 1960

Madagascar, now the Malagasy Republic gain independence from France.

Didier Ratsiraka starts a Socialist government

1975 - 1992

Didier Ratsiraka takes control after three years of political instability. While in power, he nationalized institutions, launched social and economic reforms, and formed friendships with Communist states.

Economy diclines

1975 - 1992

Plans to create nature preserves and parks are established


Malagasy people demand a new government


Malagasy people demand a new government after an economic collapse.

Albert Zafy comes to power

Feb 1993 - 1996

Albert Zafy wins a democratic election in 1992 after Ratsiraka and taken from power. He is later impeached by the National Assembly for continuously breaching the constitution and corruption.

Ratsiraka is re-elected as president


2001 Political Crisis

2001 - 2002

Theresults of the presidential election between Didier Ratsiraka and Marc Ravalomanana are very close and Ravalomanana, saying the results were rigged declares himself president in Feb, 2002. Dieder Ratstiraka refuses to accept this and declaring marshall law, he leads his home town of Toasmasina as well as Antananarivo into turmoil. People starve, unemployment rates soar and roads and bridges are blocked. After monthss of this civil war, Ratsiraka flees to Seychelles ending the turmoil. 

Marc Ravalomanana is elected president

April 29, 2002

After a recount, the High Council declares that Marc Ravalomanana won the presidential election with 52% of the vote.

Ratsiraka is sentenced to 12 years of hard labor

December 24, 2003

After causing $7.6 million in damages after the 2002 election, Ratsiraka is sentenced to 12 years of hard labor.

$100 million is granted to Madgascar

April 18, 2005

In 2002, President Bush establishes the Millennium Challenge Account to fund honest governments for poorer countries.

GDP of average Malagasy is $300 per year


The GDP of the average Malagasy is $300 per year. Most of the population (pop: 19 million) live on tiny plots of land.

Ravalomanana is re-elected

Dec 7, 2006

Marc Ravalomanana is re-elected for his second term in office

Ravalomanana appoints Charles Rabemananjara as prime minister

January, 2007

Andry Rajoelina leads strikes against Ravalomanana


Anddry Rajoelina was the mayor of Antananarivo at the time and challenged Ravalomana. He accused him of wrongly using public funds as well as being a dictator and ordered him to step down. Ravalomanana refused and this led to many political strikes and unprisings, some that were violent and deadly.

Andry Rajoelina becomes youngest president

March 17, 2009

The military hands power to Andry Rajoelina after Marc Ravalomanana steps down. Andry Rajoelina, at 35 years-old, is the youngest president of Madagascar.

Ravalomanana steps down; hand power to military

March 17, 2009

No longer favored by the public or supported by the army, Ravalomanana agreed to step down. Almost immediately after he stepped down, Andry Rajoelina declared himself president.

Military claims to depose Rajeolina

November, 2010

Just as the military had done so in 2009 with Ravalomanana, the military announced that it was deposing Andry Rajeolina. However, Rajeolina didn't feel threatened by this saying he was "not bothered by the declarations from a handful of people" and announced that he was still in charge.

Camille Vital reappointed as prime minister of a transitional government

March, 2011

In an effort to end a two-year political and economic crisis Rajeolina reappoints Camille Vital as the prime minister of a transitional government.

Vital resigns and Omer Beriziky named new prime minister

October, 2011

Vital and his government resign and Omer Briziky becomes the new prime minister.