Madagascar, or Republic of Madagascar (older name Malagasy Republic), is an island nation in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa. The main island, also called Madagascar, is the fourth-largest island in the world, and is home to 5% of the world's plant and animal species, of which more than 80% are endemic to Madagascar. They include the lemur infraorder of primates, the carnivorous fossa, three bird families and six baobab species.
Madagascar, as part of East Gondwana, split from Africa approximately 160 million years ago; the island of Madagascar was created when it separated from India 80 to 100 million years ago. Most archaeologists estimate human settlement of Madagascar to be between 200 and 500 A.D., when seafarers from southeast Asia (probably from Borneo or the southern Celebes) arrived in outrigger sailing canoes.Bantu settlers probably crossed the Mozambique Channel to Madagascar at about the same time or shortly afterwards. However, Malagasy tradition and ethnographic evidence suggests that they may have been preceded by the Mikea hunter gatherers.