Madagascar, officially known as the Republic of Madagascar, is an island country in the Indian Ocean, off of the southeast coast of Africa. It is the fourth largest island in the world, and has very unique and unusual plants and wild life due to its relative isolation,, particularly in its developing years. Prior to 1897, Madagascar was ruled by a series of four different Merina nobles. In 1897, it became a French colony, from which it gained its independence in 1960.
The flag of Madagascar was actually adopted two years before the country gained its independence. The people of Madagascar anticipated a referendum on its status in the French Community. Thus the current flag was adopted in 1958 and independence was granted in 1960.
The flag of Madagascar is white, red, and green. It has a vertical band of white on the left side, approximately one third of the flag’s length. The other two thirds of the flag are divided in half, horizontally with a red band on the top and a green band on the bottom. The colors of the flag have various possible meanings. The first idea is that the colors of the flag were chosen because they represent the country’s history and its independence. The red and white were chosen because they were the colors of the last Merina ruler, prior to Madagascar being ruled by France. These colors are also used in the flag of Indonesia and may represent the origin of some of the Malagasy people. Green was chosen because it was the color of the Hoyas, the commoners who were the leaders of agitation towards independence from France. Another interpretation states that the color red stands for sovereignty, green stands for hope, and white stands for purity.
One interesting fact that stands out about the Madagascar flag is that it has remained the same since its adoption. The country’s constitution has changed several times and the country even changed it’s official name in 1975. Still, the flag remained the same as it was when adopted in 1958.
This unique island country of over twenty-two million native peoples from various groups, stand by their Madagascar flag. The country has undergone many changes over the past 55 years, since their independence, but remain true to their flag. Additionally, with many different native groups living on the same island, one might expect there to be issues over the flag but there have been none. This simple, but sophisticated flag is a symbol for all the native peoples in Madagascar.