Malagasy people

Malagasy people
Total population
22 million
Regions with significant populations
Madagascar, Mayotte, Réunion



Animism, Protestantism, Catholicism

Related ethnic groups

Austronesians, Bantus

The Malagasy (French: Malgache) ethnic group forms nearly the entire population of Madagascar. They are divided into two subgroups: the "Highlander" Merina, Sihanaka and Betsileo of the central plateau around Antananarivo, Alaotra (Ambatondrazaka) and Fianarantsoa, and the côtiers ("coastal dwellers") elsewhere in the country. This division has its roots in historical patterns of settlement. The original Austronesian settlers from Borneo arrived between the third and tenth centuries and established a network of principalities in the Central Highlands region conducive to growing the rice they had carried with them on their outrigger canoes. Sometime later, a large number of settlers arrived from East Africa and established kingdoms along the relatively unpopulated coastlines.

The difference in ethnic origins remains somewhat evident between the highland and coastal regions. In addition to the ethnic distinction between highland and coastal Malagasy, one may speak of a political distinction as well. Merina monarchs in the late 18th and early 19th century united the Merina principalities and brought the neighboring Betsileo people under their administration first. They later extended Merina control over the majority of the coastal areas as well. The military resistance and eventual defeat of most of the côtier communities assured their subordinate position vis-a-vis the Merina-Betsileo alliance. The French colonial administration capitalized on and further exacerbated these political inequities by appropriating existing Merina governmental infrastructure to run their colony. This legacy of political inequity dogged the people of Madagascar after gaining independence in 1960; candidates' ethnic and regional identities have often served to help or hinder their success in democratic elections.

Within these two broad ethnic and political groupings, the Malagasy were historically further subdivided into specifically named ethnic groups, who were primarily distinguished from one another on the basis of cultural practices. These were namely agricultural, hunting, or fishing practices; construction of domiciles; music; hair and clothing styles; and local customs or taboos (known in the Malagasy language as fady).[citation needed] The number of such groups in Madagascar has been debated, and in reality the practices that distinguished many of these groups are less prevalent than they were in the past. Nonetheless, many Malagasy are proud to proclaim their association with one or several of these groups as part of their own cultural identity.

  • "Highlander" ethnic groups
    • Merina
    • Sihanaka
    • Betsileo
      • Zafimaniry
  • Coastal ethnic groups ("Côtiers")
    • Antambahoaka
    • Antanosy or Tanosy
    • Antaimoro or Temoro or Antemoro
    • Antaisaka or Antesaka
    • Betsimisaraka
    • Mahafaly
    • Sakalava
    • Antankarana
    • Tsimihety
    • Antandroy or Tandroy
    • Bara
    • Tanala
    • Mikea
    • Bezanozano
    • Vezo
    • Antaifasy or Antefasy
    • Makoa

Malagasy diaspora

There is a population (estimated to be around 7,000) of Afro-Peruvians in Morropón (Piura), a city in northern Peru, that are of Malagasy descent and call themselves Mangaches or Malgaches. The section of Piura is called la Mangachería.[citation needed]

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  • Malagasy — [ˌmalaˈɡasʲ] is the name of the people who live in Madagascar. Malagasy is also the name of the national and official language spoken in Madagascar. It may refer to anything pertaining to or characteristic of the island of Madagascar the Malagasy …   Wikipedia

  • Malagasy constitutional referendum, 2010 — Madagascar This article is part of the series: Politics and government of Madagascar Constitution High Transitional Authority …   Wikipedia

  • Malagasy — noun (plural Malagasy; also Malagasies) Date: 1839 1. a member of a people of Indonesian and African origin who inhabit Madagascar 2. the Austronesian language of the Malagasy people • Malagasy adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Malagasy — 1. noun /ˌmæləˈɡæsi/ a) A person from Madagascar or of Malagasy descent. b) A language spoken in Madagascar. 2. adjective /ˌmæləˈɡæsi/ Of, from, or pertaining to Madagascar, the Malagasy people or the Malagasy language …   Wiktionary

  • Malagasy language — Malagasy Spoken in  Madagascar  Comoros …   Wikipedia

  • Malagasy mythology — is rooted in oral history and has been transmitted by storytelling (angano story ), notably the Andriambahoaka epic, including the Ibonia cycle. The Malagasy traditionally believe in a creator god denoted by the word Zanahary. Division of heaven… …   Wikipedia

  • Malagasy Uprising — Monument commemorating the uprising. The Malagasy Uprising (or the Madagascar Revolt) was a rebellion against the colonial rule of France by nationalists on the island of Madagascar in 1947 and 1948. It was crushed by the French government, then… …   Wikipedia

  • Malagasy cuisine — Lemon and mango pickles (achards) traditionally accompany meals in the northwestern coastal regions of Madagascar.[1] …   Wikipedia

  • Malagasy parliamentary election, 2007 — Madagascar This article is part of the series: Politics and government of Madagascar Constitution High Transitional Authority …   Wikipedia

  • Malagasy peoples — Complex of about 20 ethnic groups in Madagascar. The largest group is the Merina ( Elevated People ), who primarily inhabit the central plateau. The second largest group is the Betsimisaraka, who live generally in the east. The third is the… …   Universalium

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