From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:
Madagascar \Mad'a*gas"car\ (m[a^]d'[.a]*g[a^]s"k[~e]r) prop. n. An island in the Indian Ocean, about 240 miles off the southeast coast of Africa, governed as a single country, the Republic of Madagascar. It is the world's fourth-largest island, with a total area of 587,040 sq km, with 4,828 km of coastline. Once a French colony, it gained independence from France in 1960. The name of the government after independence was the Malagasy Republic. [PJC]
Formerly an independent kingdom, Madagascar became a French colony in 1886, but regained its independence in 1960. During 1992-93, free presidential and National Assembly elections were held, ending 17 years of single-party rule. In 1997 in the second presidential race, Didier RATSIRAKA, the leader during the 1970s and 1980s, was returned to the presidency. The Population: is 15,982,563 (July 2001 est.) The highest point is Maromokotro, at 2,876 m. Natural resources are: graphite, chromite, coal, bauxite, salt, quartz, tar sands, semiprecious stones, mica, fish, and hydropower. --CIA World Factbook [PJC]
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:
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