20th Century Club hears report on Madagascar


The recent meeting of the 20th Century Club was held at the home of Linda Minyard with Libby Williams serving of co-hostess.

The meeting was called to order by Beverly Warren with the reading of the collect. Roll was called by Minyard, who also read minutes that were approved. Peggy Koen gave the treasurer report.

The club welcomed four new members — Ruby Poteet, Frances Taylor, Janette McGrew and Barbara Stone. Warren reported that JoAnn Gregory and Norma Caldwell would give a report on the Christmas meeting at the November meeting. Caldwell passed out new yearbooks.

As there was no other business, the meeting was turned over to Renee Mitchell, who gave a very informative report on Madagascar, where she and her husband, Harold Mitchell, served as missionaries.

Madagascar is the large island which lies off the southeastern coast of Africa. It is identified as “big” because it is the fourth largest island on earth, being in line behind Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo. It is known as the “red” island because of the color of the soil. Madagascar is known for its diverse and often exclusive plant and animal life. Nearly 90 percent of all plant and animal life is endemic to the island. Somewhere between 35O B.C. and 550A.D. the first people found their way to the east coast of Madagascar. Oral tradition and archaeological finds suggest that inhabitants from Borneo came across the Indian Ocean in outrigger canoes. Later Africans arrived from Mozambique. Other Malayo-Indonesians came by way of India and the Middle East down the coast of Africa.

About 1200 A.D. the first European explorers arrived. They came looking for treasure and to establish a permanent settlement. Because of harsh conditions and hostile inhabitants, for a long time, they were not successful in setting up these permanent settlements. In the 16th century, the Imerina people became victorious over all the people groups and set up a kingdom that dominated the entire island which existed until the nineteenth century when the French annexed Madagascar as a French colony. The Republic of Madagascar became an independent country in June 1960. The people of Madagascar are called Malagasy as is their language. The other official language is French. It was a natural progression that the seat of the royals became the capital of the country, Antananarivo (Tana for short).

Beside the Central High Plateau, the country is also divided into the areas of The Asia of Madagascar, The Spiney Desert, The Rich East Coast, The Last Rain Forests, and land of the Sakalava. In 1999 , a rich deposit of sapphires was discovered in the Land of the Sakalava which was said to produce half of the world’s sapphires.

The meeting was then adjourned for a time of fellowship.