Evidence of human inhabitants on Madagascar dates back 2,000 years, and the island was settled by people of African and Indonesian origin when it was visited by the Portuguese explorer, Diego Diaz, in 1500. The island was unified under the Imérina monarchy between 1797 and 1861, but French claims to a protectorate led to hostilities culminating in the establishment of a French protectorate on 30 Sept. 1895. The monarchy was abolished and Madagascar became a French colony on 6 Aug. 1896.
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