One of the indian ocean islands off the southeast coast of africa. Its capital is antananarivo. It was formerly called the malagasy republic. Discovered by the portuguese in 1500, its history has been tied predominantly to the french, becoming a french protectorate in 1882, a french colony in 1896, and a territory within the french union in 1946. The malagasy republic was established in the french community in 1958 but it achieved independence in 1960. Its name was changed to madagascar in 1975.