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Demographics of Madagascar

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Demographics of Madagascar Empty Demographics of Madagascar

Bài gửi  kosovohp on Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:40 pm

Madagascar's population is predominantly of mixed Austronesian (i.e. South-East Asian/Pacific Islander) and African origin.[6][43] Those who are visibly Austronesian in appearance and culture are the minority, found mostly in the highland regions. Recent research suggests that the island was uninhabited until Austronesian seafarers arrived about 1,500 to 2,000 years ago. Recent DNA research shows that the Malagasy people are approximately of half Austronesian and half East African descent, although some Arab, Indian and European influence is present along the coast.[6] Malagasy language shares some 90% of its basic vocabulary with the Ma'anyan language from the region of the Barito River in southern Borneo.

Subsequent migrations from the East Indies and Africa consolidated this original mixture, and 36 separate tribal groups emerged. Austronesian features are most predominant in the Merina (3 million); the coastal people (called côtiers) are of more clearly African origin. The largest coastal groups are the Betsimisaraka (1.5 million) and the Tsimihety and Sakalava (700,000 each). The Vezo live in the southwest. Two of the southern tribes are the Antandroy and the Antanosy. Other tribes include Tankarana (northern tip), Sihanaka and Bezanozano (east), Tanala (south-east), An-Taimoro, Tambahoaka, Zafisoro, An-Taisaka and Timanambondro (south-east coast), and Mahafaly and Bara (south-west). Chinese and Indian minorities also exist, as well as Europeans, mostly French. In 1958, there were 68,430 European settlers living in Madagascar.[44] The number of Comorans residing in Madagascar was drastically reduced after anti-Comoran rioting in Mahajanga in 1976.[45]

During the French colonial administration (1895–1960) and some time after independence, people were officially classified in ethnic groups. This practice was abandoned in the first census (1975) after independence,[46] so any recent classification and figures for ethnic groups is an unofficial estimate. There is for instance no mention of ethnicity or religion in the national identity cards. Also, territorial divisions (provinces, regions) do not follow any ethnic division lines, despite an attempt by the colonial administration in the early 20th century. Ethnic divisions continue, and may cause violence, but their role is limited in today's society. Ethnic tensions in Madagascar often produce violent conflict between the Merina highlanders and coastal peoples.[47] Regional political parties are also rare, although some parties receive most of their support in certain areas.

The population has grown from 2.2 million in 1900 to 7.6 million in 1975.[48] Slavery was abolished in 1896, but many of the 500,000 liberated slaves remained in their former master's homes as servants.

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