VII. The Contemporary Period, 1945–2000 > I. Africa, 1941–2000 > 2. Regions > f. Madagascar
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1935–39)
f. Madagascar
Wartime impositions, including conscription and forced labor, and the 1944 forced sale of the rice crop, led to widespread discontent with French rule.  1
Several political parties emerged to campaign for independence.  2
1958, Aug
Madagascar voted in favor of the de Gaulle proposal for autonomy within the French sphere.  3
1960, June 26
Full independence was gained under the leadership of Philibert Tsiranana and his Parti Social Démocrat (PSD).  4
A revolt of Antandroy peasants led to strikes and demonstrations, followed by the installation of a military government under Gen. Gabriel Ramanatsoa, who was initially popular with the Left.  5
1975, Feb
Ramanatsoa was forced from power after violent anti-Merina riots against the political and ethnic elite and spreading popular revolt; he was replaced by the Conseil Suprême Révolutionnaire (CSR) led by Capt. Didier Ratsiraka. The CSR pursued a radical Socialist line, including widespread nationalization of industry. These policies led to economic stagnation, loss of foreign investment, and food shortages.  6
By this time Madagascar was heavily reliant on aid from the Soviet bloc and China, and was importing 350,000 metric tons of rice per year, which consumed 20 percent of the country's foreign exchange. Pres. Ratsiraka was returned to office in fraudulent elections, and the government signed a structural adjustment agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  7
Austerity measures introduced by the IMF agreement led to a resumption of foreign aid and the return of market policies for agriculture. Incomes fell sharply. Poverty and banditry in the countryside led to rapid urbanization.  8
Drought in the south resulted in famine, killing 47,500 and resulting in 200,000 refugees.  9
1993, Feb. 10
Albert Zafy led the opposition to electoral victory over Pres. Didier Ratsiraka in multiparty elections.  10
1999, April 19–23
An interisland conference was held in Madagascar with the Comoros and other surrounding islands in attendance.  11
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.