Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. It is a unique blend of Asian and African culture and is well known as the home of some of the world's most unusual and most endangered flora and fauna, from lemurs to giant tortoises. Although so close to the east coast of Africa, where traces of human existence go back hundreds of thousands of years, Madagascar was uninhabited until about two thousand years ago. How it came to be inhabited by seafaring peoples from present-day Indonesia is just one of the many fascinating aspects of this book. A History of Madagascar examines the origins of the Malagasy, the early contacts with Europeans and the struggle for influence in the nineteenth century between the British and the French. It also covers the colonial period from 1896 to 1960, the recovery of independence and subsequent history up to the early 1990s.