Antananarivo Profile

Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar with its population today of 1.4 million people is commonly known as Tana and was founded in 1625 by King Andrianjaka who reigned over the Kingdom of Imerina in the central highlands region of Madagascar from around 1612 to 1630. Its location on top of a steep ridge that consists of more than 12 hilltops made it easy to defend with royalty and noblemen living on the highest hills whilst foot soldiers occupied and guarded the lower hills.

Antananarivo grew in importance in 1793 when King Andrianampoinimerina (1787~1810) of Ambohimanga captured the city and transferred his capital there using

it as a base to bring the rest of Madagascar under Merina (highlander) rule. The city was captured by the French in 1895 as part of their colonisation of Madagascar following the Berlin Conference and the Merina dynasty was abolished two years later with Queen Ranavalona III being deported to Reunion then Algeria.

The French remodelled the city constructing new roads and buildings with a French colonial feel and by 1950 its population had risen to 175,000 and remained as capital of the island after Independence from France in 1960. Today, it is the administrative, communications, and economic centre of the country.

Those employed in Antananarivo primarily work in the production of leather goods, textiles as well as food products, drinks and cigarettes. It is connected by railway to the port of Toamasina on the east coast allowing for easy imports and exports into the capital. Today, following years of economic decline and political instability coupled with the suspension of aid from organisations such as the EU, Antananarivo has a feel of urban poverty with street children combing the streets begging or stealing from tourists amid overcrowded and uncared for buildings, high unemployment, rampant pollution and a general sense of decay and despair.

Check out the video below to get a better look and feel of Antananarivo then use our interactive map below to explore the city in more detail.


Antananarivo Profile

Antananarivo Profile

Antananarivo Profile

Antananarivo Profile



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Antananarivo Profile: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license


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