On Madagascar

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Madagascar: The Case of a Lost Paradise
English 204 Final Paper
5/29/2011
Maria El Hajj |

Madagascar, better known as the eighth continent of the world, is one of the most precious landmasses on earth. Lying in the Indian Ocean, it detached from the African mainland 165 million years ago and developed into magnificent uniqueness through its wide range of biodiversity, large areas of forested lands, and its rare animals such as the Lemurs.
In the 17th century, Madagascar started admitting the French presence and the latter settled in and took over the land by the end of the 19th century. Official French colonialism was established in 1896 after a series of treaties that increased the French authority, while the Merina royal family was sent into exile in Algeria ("Why is Madagascar so poor?"). Colonialism, in the simplest words, is a system that claims authority on another foreign country and conquests its government. Nevertheless, in the case of Madagascar, not only did the French colonialism abolish the splendor of Mother Nature, but also is responsible for degrading Madagascar on social and economical bases.
Isolated from the African mainland for over sixty million years, the island of Madagascar is renowned for its tropical forests which support numerous endemic plants and animal species. However, Madagascar’s once prominent woods are degrading and are exhibiting the issue of deforestation. This issue is rooted in the detrimental policies of the French colonial state. From the annex of colonialism, the colonial government treated the forests as an exploitable resource merely to profit from and to increase the colony’s economical benefits. As Claudia Randrup mentions in her thesis, logging and agricultural concessions implemented by the French turned natural resources directly into economic commodities especially when French entrepreneurs permitted the clearing of a significant amount of forests. French concessionaires granted land, on behalf of the



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