Madagascar Martyrs' Day

Also found in: Dictionary.

Madagascar Martyrs' Day (Commemoration Day, Insurrection Day)

March 29
Madagascar Martyrs' Day, also known as Commemoration Day or Insurrection Day, officially memorializes those who died in the Revolt of 1947 against the French. Madagascar had been a French colony since 1896 and then was named an overseas territory within the French Union in the 1946 constitution. Although the French constitution accorded the people of Madagascar full citizenship, its assimilationist policies contradicted the goal of independence for Madagascar. Consequently, Malagasy nationalists formed a movement for autonomy from France.
On March 29, 1947, the people staged a nationalist uprising against colonial forces that eventually spread to one-third of the island. After months of fighting and the arrival of additional troops from France, the colonial army was able to regain control of the island. Casualties from the conflict were reported as high as 80,000 and as low as 8,000, depending on the source. French military courts tried the leaders of the revolt and executed 20. According to some reports, other court hearings resulted in 5,000 to 6,000 convictions with a range of penalties from imprisonment to capital punishment. On March 29 the Malagasy government and people remember those patriots who sacrificed their lives in this rebellion for their country's freedom.
Madagascar Embassy
2374 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.