The island of Madagascar is the fourth largest in the world, biologically isolated 88 million years ago after breaking off from super-continent Gondwana. Biodiversity flourished as animals and plants evolved in isolation from outside influences, leading to wildlife population 90% unique. Humans would not settle Madagascar until approximately 350 BCE when natives from Borneo arrived in outrigger canoes. Over time several other group joined such as the Bantu leading to 18 ethnic subgroups for the Malagasy people
Rule of the island was fragmented for most of its history until unification by Merina nobles as the Kingdom of Madagascar. Unification was short lived as the French colonized the island in 1897 and would rule until 1960. Since being freed four republics have governed the island. In 2009 President Marc Ravalomanana was forced to resign his powers to Andry Rajoelina in a coup.
22 million people live in Madagascar with most earning less than $2 a day. Malagasy and English are the official languages for the people, who follow traditional or Christian beliefs. Economic growth has been promising in the areas of agriculture and tourism. With the investments into business, education and health Madagascar has an uncertain but promising future ahead.