|Official name (since 1975): Democratic Republic of Madagascar, Former name (1958--75): Malagasy Republic an island republic in the Indian Ocean, off the E coast of Africa: made a French protectorate in 1895; became autonomous in 1958 and fully independent in 1960; contains unique flora and fauna. Languages: Malagasy and French. Religions: animist and Christian. Currency: franc. Capital: Antananarivo. Pop: 17 901 000 (2004 est). Area: 587 041 sq km (266 657 sq miles)|
|the offspring of a zebra and a donkey.|
|a children's mummer's parade, as on the Fourth of July, with prizes for the best costumes.|
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