The Republic of Madagascar (older name Malagasy Republic, republiˈkʲan madaɡasˈkʲarə̥) is an island country located in the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 off the southeastern coast of Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. The nation comprises the island of Madagascar (at 587041 square kilometres (226,657.8 sq mi), the fourth-largest island in the world), as well as numerous smaller peripheral islands, the largest of which include Nosy Be
Nosy Be
Nosy Be is an island located off the northwest coast of Madagascar. Nosy Be is Madagascar's largest and busiest tourist resort. It has an area of 312 km2 and its population was officially estimated at 36,636 in 2001....

 and Nosy Boraha
Île Sainte-Marie
Île Sainte-Marie, known as Nosy Boraha , is an island off the east coast of Madagascar. The main town is Ambodifotatra. The city covers an area of 222 km2, and had a population estimated at 16,325 in 2001.- City :...

 (Île Sainte-Marie).

The prehistoric breakup of the Gondwana
In paleogeography, Gondwana , originally Gondwanaland, was the southernmost of two supercontinents that later became parts of the Pangaea supercontinent. It existed from approximately 510 to 180 million years ago . Gondwana is believed to have sutured between ca. 570 and 510 Mya,...

 supercontinent separated the Madagascar-Antarctica-India landmass from the Africa-South America landmass around 135 million years ago.