Provinces of Madagascar

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A constitutional referendum was held on 2007-04-04. It passed. One of its provisions was to abolish the six provinces and promote the 22 regions to primary subdivision status, effective 2009-10.

Both the Statesman's Year-Book, 1997-98 edition, and "Ershiyi (21) Shiji Shijie Diming Lu", a three-volume world gazetteer, give the populations of the six provinces as of the 1993 census. The two sources agree perfectly. I have added these data to the main table.

Here are maps  showing some stages in the historic development of Madagascar's administrative subdivisions.

The total population of Madagascar at the 1993-08-01 census was 12,092,157, as compared to the 1990 estimate of 11,443,000. On the site of Madagascar's Institut National de la Statistique, estimates for 2001 are given.

Country overview: 

ISO codeMG
LanguageFrench (fr), Malagasy (mg)
Time zone+3


Madagascar became a French colony in 1896. It obtained its independence on 1958-10-14. After independence it used the name Malagasy Republic, but reverted to Madagascar in 1975.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Madagaskar
  2. Dutch: Madagaskar, Republiek Madagaskar (formal)
  3. English: Republic of Madagascar (formal), Malagasy Republic (obsolete)
  4. Finnish: Madagaskar
  5. French: Madagascar m, République f Malgache (obsolete)
  6. German: Madagaskar n, Madegasse m (obsolete)
  7. Icelandic: Madagaskar
  8. Italian: Madagascar m
  9. Malagasy: Madagasikara, Repoblika n'i Madagasikara (formal), Repoblika Malagasy (obsolete)
  10. Norwegian: Madagaskar, Republikken Madagaskar (formal)
  11. Portuguese: Madagáscar, Madagascar (Brazil), República f de Madagáscar (formal)
  12. Russian: Республика Мадагаскар (formal)
  13. Spanish: Madagascar, República f Democrática de Madagascar m (formal)
  14. Swedish: Madagaskar
  15. Turkish: Madagaskar Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

incorrect application of the name of a different island, reported by Marco Polo

Primary subdivisions: 

Madagascar is divided into six faritany mizakatena (autonomous provinces).

ProvinceHASCISOFIPSPop-2001Pop-1993Area(km.²)Area(mi.²)Old namePc
6 provinces15,692,03412,092,157587,041226,657
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Pop-2001: 2001 estimate.
  • Pop-1993: 1993-08-19 census.
  • Pc: First digit of postal codes for the province.
  • Capitals have the same names as their provinces.

Postal codes: 

Madagascar uses three-digit postal codes. The first digit indicates the province. See the Regions of Madagascar page for more details.

Further subdivisions:

See the Regions of Madagascar page.

The provinces are subdivided into 22 regions. The lower-level subdivisions are in a transitional state at present. For a fuller explanation, see the Change history section of the Regions of Madagascar page.

Territorial extent: 

The Comoro Islands, including Mayotte, were administered from Madagascar in the early years of the 20th century. The same is true of the uninhabited islands of Bassas da India, Europa, Îles Glorieuses (Glorioso Islands), Juan de Nova, and Tromelin, in the Mozambique Channel, which have been administered from Réunion since 1960. The islands of Nosy Be and Sainte Marie (Nosy Boraha) were originally dependencies, but have become integral parts of Madagascar.

Antsiranana includes Nosy Be, Nosy Faly, and Nosy Mitsio.

Mahajanga includes the Barren Islands (Nosy Barren), Île Chesterfield, and Nosy Lava.

Toamasinia includes Nosy Boraha.

The UN LOCODE page  for Madagascar lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Antananarivo: Malagasy for "the city of a thousand"
  2. Antsiranana: Malagasy for "the port"
  3. Diego-Suarez: From early explorers Diego Dias and Hernán Suárez (separate voyages)
  4. Fianarantsoa: Malagasy for "school of the good" (i.e. ethics)
  5. Toamasina: Malagasy, possibly meaning "as if holy"
  6. Toliara: Malagasy for "the anchorage over there"

Change history: 

  1. 1914-02-23: The Comoro Islands (including Mayotte) became a dependency of Madagascar.
  2. 1954: Tromelin Island transferred from the Seychelles to Madagascar.
  3. 1958-10-14: Madagascar became independent from France, but its dependencies (the Comoro Islands, Mayotte, and the islands in the Mozambique Channel) remained French possessions.
  4. 1975-12-30: Name of Tananarive province and its capital changed to Antananarivo.
  5. 1976: Name of country changed from Malagasy Republic to Madagascar.
  6. ~1980: Names of provinces of Diégo-Suarez, Majunga, Tamatave, and Tuléar and their capitals changed to Antsiranana, Mahajanga, Toamasina, and Toliara, respectively.
  7. 2000: According to Internet sources, the status of the provinces changed to autonomous provinces.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Antananarivo: Tananarive (obsolete)
  2. Antsiranana: Antseranana (variant); Diégo-Suarez (obsolete)
  3. Mahajanga: Majunga (obsolete)
  4. Toamasina: Tamatave (obsolete)
  5. Toliara: Toleary, Toliary (variant); Tuléar (obsolete)
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