Madagascaran ǀ Austronesian


Photo: Andry Rajoelina, president of Madagascar, born in Antsirabe in 1974

Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar and previously known as the Malagasy Republic, is an island country in the Indian Ocean, approximately 400 kilometres (250 miles) off the coast of East Africa. The nation comprises the island of Madagascar (the fourth-largest island in the world) and numerous smaller peripheral islands. The first archaeological evidence for human foraging on Madagascar may have occurred as much as 10,000 years ago. Human settlement of Madagascar occurred between 350 BC and 550 AD by Austronesian peoples, arriving on outrigger canoes from Borneo. These were joined around the 9th century AD by Bantu migrants crossing the Mozambique Channel from East Africa. Malagasy and French are both official languages of the state. The majority of the population adheres to traditional beliefs, Christianity, or an amalgamation of both. Hinduism in Madagascar began with the arrival of primarily Gujarati from the Saurashtra region of India as far back as 1870, at which time Madagascar was a French colony known as Malagache.

Madagascar represents data from 67 members of Madagascar of Austronesian descent; genealogical information was recorded for at least two generations to establish regional ancestry.

Source: “Austronesian genetic signature in East African Madagascar and Polynesia” , Japan Society of Human Genetics, 2008

[population 419]