A large island in the Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of Africa. During the 19th century, most of the island was united under the Hova tribe, which was placed under French protection in 1885. In 1896, the native monarchy was abolished and Madagascar became a French colony, at times administering French island possessions in the area. In 1958, Madagascar, renamed the Malagasy Republic, became autonomous within the French Union. In 1960 it became fully independent. French influence remained strong until a 1972 coup brought a socialist regime to power. The new government nationalized French holdings, closed down French military bases and a U.S. space-tracking station, and obtained Chinese aid. In 1990, multiparty politics, banned in 1975, were again legalized. France and the United States remain the country's chief trading partners.
SAINTE-MARIE DE MADAGASCAR