Mahajanga

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Mahajanga
District and city
The coast promenade in 2008
The coast promenade in 2008
Coat of arms of Mahajanga
Coat of arms
Mahajanga is located in Madagascar
Mahajanga
Mahajanga
Location in Madagascar
Coordinates: 15°43′S 46°19′E / 15.717°S 46.317°E / -15.717; 46.317Coordinates: 15°43′S 46°19′E / 15.717°S 46.317°E / -15.717; 46.317
Country  Madagascar
Region Boeny
District Mahajanga District
Commune Mahajanga
Population (2001)
 • Total 135,660

Mahajanga [maːˈdzaŋɡə̥] (French: Majunga) is a city and a district on the northwest coast of Madagascar.

Mahajanga is a favorite tourist destination for Malagasy tourists and international travelers, with beautiful beaches, a coconut-lined boardwalk ("Le Bord", short for "Bord de la mer" or sea-side), and eight months of hot, virtually rain-free weather.

City[edit]

The coast promenade after the cyclone Gafilo in 2004
One of the beaches north of the city

The City of Mahajanga (Mahajanga I) is the capital of the Boeny region. Population: 135,660 (2001 estimate[1]).

Mahajanga is a seaport, the second most important one in Madagascar after Toamasina. The marine terminal accommodates containerships and small (150 gross ton) general cargo freighters. Because of limited water depth at the wharf, only small ships can call at the terminal. Deeper-draft ships anchor off the terminal and transfer cargoes to and from barges, which move it to and from the terminal.

Severe storms during December 2006 damaged the bulkhead, allowing water to flow in and wash backfill out from under the terminal's paving blocks. The resulting collapse of pavement blocks has made operations at the terminal less efficient and reduced the storage space available. The largest and most valuable containerized export is frozen shrimp.

There is an international airport with regional flights to the Comoros and Mayotte.

Mahajanga is on the Betsiboka River, which then leads to Bombetoka Bay.

The city has a sizable Muslim population. In 1977, it was the scene of ethnic unrest, forcing the evacuation of the Comorian minority living there.

History[edit]

In the 1780s a community of roughly 200 Indian traders had formed at Mahajanga at the mouth of the Betsiboka River, according to French traveler Dumaine. Thus, the etymology of the word "Mahajanga" is Indic. Confusion arose over their legal status; they often declared themselves to be Malagasy subjects to evade the laws against slave-holding or the building of stone houses, both forbidden to British subjects. Their dhows, which they used to transport goods to and from the African mainland, flew French flags. Initial arrivals were mainly Muslim Khojas, Ismailis and Daoudi Bohras, with some Hindus settling later.

The 1911 census found 4,480 Indians in the country, making them 21% of the total foreign population and the second-largest foreign population after the French. Following the nationalisation of private businesses in the 1970s, many were compelled to leave; those who remained were largely uneducated but stayed on and gradually built their businesses. By 2000, they were generally believed to control 50-60% of the country's economy, making them the target of demonstrators during periods of unrest.

In December 2006, a cyclone hit Mahajanga, causing significant damage to the port facilities and to some buildings on or near the coast.

District[edit]

Mahajanga II is the district surrounding Mahajanga I. Population was 46,790 (2001 estimate[1]).

Region[edit]

See Boeny.

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Mahajanga
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 31.1
(88)
31.3
(88.3)
31.6
(88.9)
32.6
(90.7)
31.8
(89.2)
30.5
(86.9)
30.4
(86.7)
31.2
(88.2)
32.1
(89.8)
32.6
(90.7)
32.4
(90.3)
31.9
(89.4)
31.63
(88.93)
Average low °C (°F) 23.5
(74.3)
23.7
(74.7)
23.6
(74.5)
23.4
(74.1)
21.9
(71.4)
20.2
(68.4)
19.6
(67.3)
19.9
(67.8)
20.9
(69.6)
22.4
(72.3)
23.8
(74.8)
23.7
(74.7)
22.22
(71.99)
Rainfall mm (inches) 437
(17.2)
353
(13.9)
242
(9.53)
52
(2.05)
10
(0.39)
2
(0.08)
1
(0.04)
3
(0.12)
2
(0.08)
23
(0.91)
118
(4.65)
245
(9.65)
1,488
(58.6)
Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 17 16 12 4 1 1 1 1 1 2 6 13 75
 % humidity 82 83 81 73 67 64 62 60 63 66 72 80 71.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 164.3 161.0 207.7 300.0 325.5 297.0 310.0 322.4 321.0 334.8 288.0 232.5 3,264.2
Source: Weltwetter Spiegel Online [2]

Literature[edit]

  • Dr. Michael Flach, Corina Haase, MADAGASIKARA - Insel meiner Traeume, Exclusivefotografy, 11/2007, 208 pages, Picturebook, ISBN 978-3-935971-40-9, Madagaskar in pictures - Exclusivefotografy
  • R. J. Barendse, Arabian Seas 1700-1763: The Western Indian Ocean in the eighteenth century
  • Du Maine, Idée de la côte orientale de Madagascar, Paris, 1792.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b INSTAT
  2. ^ "Wetter im Detail: Klimadaten". Spiegel Online. 2012.  Retrieved on July 19, 2012.