The discovery of Madagascar by a Portuguese captain

Ready for a little detour into the 15th century ? In the time of explorations, caravels and discoveries of new lands… Except that the subject will be a little specific: Madagascar. This large island explored centuries ago, but which today is already quite modern (or not xD). Let us then talk about the discovery of Madagascar.

In the 15th century, i.e. in the 1500s, Europeans were in a bit of a race to acquire new land. At that time, Mediterranean trade, which was monopolized by the Ottoman Empire, made Europeans want to find other markets for their trade. For this reason, India was a very beautiful alternative to find spices, an expensive commodity on the market. That’s why the Portuguese were sailing to Asia to find a new market.

In competition with the Spanish, the Portuguese decided to leave for India, via the Mediterranean. In fact, they wanted to follow Vasco da Gama’s itinerary.

Diego Diaz wanted to follow the route Vasco de Gama took but the wind shifted his boat
Diego Diaz wanted to follow the route Vasco de Gama took but the wind shifted his boat

On August 10, 1500, the Portuguese captain Diego Diaz and his crew decided to leave on his new quest for spices for India. As he passed through Africa, the wind diverted his boat and changed his direction. We can say that Diego Diaz really got lost this time.

Realizing that his boat didn’t land on the right destination. He decided to explore the island anyway. The wind therefore led the Portuguese captain north of this new land (which is Diego Suarez at the moment), so he called it St. Lawrence.

After the Portuguese, the other Europeans were still trying to enter Madagascar, but apparently the Malagasy warriors, made up of the Vazimba, were ready to do anything to defend their land against any foreign invasion.

But unfortunately, their resistance only held up until the end of the 16th century, because after that, the Europeans introduced firearms and fought them… Thus, Madagascar was under European control, and even ended up being colonized by the French.

We can therefore say that the discovery of Madagascar was made by chance, but that it led to a great evolution for this « new land », by seeing what it has become today. Thanks to the entry of new civilizations, our kings have been able to build schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure. Before there were simple schools, but today there are even universities in Madagascar.

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