Antsiranana (änt'sērä`nānä), formerly
Diégo-Suarez (dē-ā`gō-swär`ĕs), town (1993 pop. 45,967), N Madagascar, on Antsiranana Bay. The bay, an arm of the Indian Ocean, is one of the world's finest natural harbors; its location, however, has hindered its development as a major port. Antsiranana is a transshipment point between coastal and ocean vessels, coffee, corn, peanuts, and cattle being the items of export. There are saltworks nearby. The bay was visited by Diogo Soares, the Portuguese explorer, in 1543. The area was ceded to France in 1885, at which time the town became the capital of the French colony; France maintained a naval base there from 1901 to 1972.