The History of Madagasikara is an extensively detailed period of various excursions, discoveries of the island, and expansion.

One of the most notable historians of Madagasikara was in fact an author who embellished historical situations for use in his epic, Del Mar Grande -- Carlos Ralofoaro, who was closely related to Emperors Esteban (Carlos was Esteban's nephew) and Ignacio (Carlos was Ignacio's cousin).


  • Period of Antiquity (Antiquity-1409)
    • Arrival of Ntaolo
    • Discovery by Arabs
    • Trade Importance
  • Period of Arab Dominance (1409-1457)
    • Rediscovery by Arabs
    • Establishment of Sanafah
    • Collapse of the Mashriq
  • Period of Expansion and Modernization (1457-Present)
    • First Sanafah Civil War
    • Malagasy Expansion
    • European Contact
    • Adoption of Catholicism and Latinized Malagasy
    • Treaty of Mahajanga

Antiquity (Antiquity-1409)

Ethnic map of Madagascar
Oral legends that have been traced from the early days of Madagasikara state that their history come:
"From the early years of the lands of mountain, lands of jungle, lands of beach, there have been our people on the Mother Island. From across the sea came great numbers of our people, from faraway islands. In canoes, they came. These were the Ntaolo, the forerunners."

These first arrivals, according to oral legends of the Sakalavan people, landed at the site of Antsiranana, the second-largest city of the Empire of Madagasikara.

It is also recorded in the oral history that traders from Omanis and Shirazis managed to make trips to Sanafah, and established a number of small towns along the coast, like Antsiranana and Mahajanga. At the same time, the Swahilis and Bantu people began to trade with the locals, who were profiting from the large trade center they had become.

The Sanafah Emirate, the precursor of Madagasikara, came from the Sakalava cultural group and Islamic and Arabic influences. The Sakalava consolidated control over the western coast of the island, as well as the northern tip of the island. Meanwhile, the Merina people dominated the mountainous central reaches of the island.

In 1408, the Mamluk sailor and explorer Halil bin Sana, on his way back to Suez from voyages into southern Africa, was reported to have discovered a large island off the African coast. The island was Madagasikara, and the contact established by bin Sana would change Madagasikara forever.

Arab Dominance (1409-1457)

This time era was considered to be the period when Sanafah was a colonial vassal of the Mamluk or Mashriqi Sultanate. It began immediately following the re-discovery of Madagascar by Halil bin Sana in 1408, which triggered the creation of a colonial state at the north of the island. The Sanafah Emirate was established as a trading outpost on the northern tip of Madagascar by Arab traders from the Mamluk Sultanate, and was largely funded by traders from the Swahili states, which looked to expand their markets. 

Dhow in Zanzibar

Large-scale conversion began to take place on the island, radiating from Mahajanga, Sanafah. The creation of the Grand Sultanate of the Mashriq in 1444 led to tighter control over vassal states, including Sanafah. Sanafah, as with most the Grand Sultanate, underwent a number of minor political instabilities during the transition from 1444 to 1457, when the Grand Sultanate finally collapsed.

By 1457, it had become clear that the Grand Sultanate was crumbling underneath its own weight. The extremely popular Grand Sultan, Ahmed-ad-Din Yusuf, died early that year, at the young age of 29. Without a son to make a strong legal claim, the local emirs and generals seized control over individual localities.

By the end of 1457, it became clear to the citizens of Sanafah that the government of the Sultanate had fallen. Further divisions of the nation continued into the next years, but on August 15, 1457, the Emir of Sanafah declared independence for Sanafah. Since then, no successor state to the Mashriqi Grand Sultanate has challenged Madagasikaran independence.

Expansion and Modernization (1457-Present)

After independence in 1457, Sanafah underwent a minor Civil War. This war pitted the Emir against the local Sakalava Chieftain, and saw the creation of the diarchial system of government. With this new system of government, Sanafah had more future abilities for possible unions, as the Chieftain would go on to inherit the Sakalava lands in 1461 and the Emir would establish his control over the Comoros in 14__.

Meanwhile, other forms of expansion occupied the national attention. The first type of expansion was that of infrastructure, population, and technology. The Council of Elders organized the first "modern" navy by constructing Mashriqi-influenced dhows, which improved the navy of canoes, which was pre-eminent in the early era of the region.

Additionally, cities gained new infrastructure. Starting in the capital city of Mahajanga and spreading to Antisiranana and other cities, the cities of Sanafah had ports and a road system built. Slash-and-burn tactics opened new lands up for settling.

Additionally, colonization of Dina Morgabin and Dina Arobi took place, as well as the vassalization of Sofala.

Contact with Spain

Wood carving of Santa Julia de Merida

Wood carving of Santa Julia de Merida

The year 1471 in Sanafahi history is one of the most important dates. It was in 1471 that the Castillian vessel Santa Julia de Merida was stranded on the shores of the nation of Sofala and then brought to the city of Sofala to begin repairs. Repairs extended into 1472, at which time the ship left and returned to the rest of the fleet.

Following these major developments, Western Christianity began to spread in Sanafah like wildfire, creating tensions between local chiefs and Emir Bakr III. As Andrés became Chief of Sanafah, tensions skyrocketed even more, and war became inevitable as Bakr III fled to the Comoros Sultanate, abandoning Sanafah and giving Andrés the needed motive to declare war and create the Empire of Madagasikara, by integrating his holdings - Betsileo and Sanafah.


Flag of Madagasikara

Flag of Madagasikara


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