Madagascar is located off the southeast coast of Africa. It is the fourth largest island in the world, behind Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo.
It split off India about 88 million years ago, allowing many animals and plants to grow in relative isolation. It is considered a biodiversity hotspot, with more than 90 percent of its wildlife found no where else on Earth.
Since 1992, Madagascar has been governed as a democracy.
It is one of the 10 poorest nations of the world, with many people living on less than $2 a day.