Every 29 March is Martyrs’ Day in Madagascar, a national holiday commemorating the heroism of those who fought and died in the 1947 “Malagasy Uprising” against French colonialist rulers.
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Since 1896, Madagascar had been controlled by France as an overseas possession, and resistance came immediately in 1897. But that first revolt failed. In the decades that followed, the people did not lose their desire for independence, but they were powerless to obtain it.
During World War II, however, when France was occupied by German forces, the grip of France on Madagascar loosened somewhat. A new resistance movement soon sprang up and grew. Finally, on 29 March 1947, an attack was made by rebel forces on French military bases and plantation properties. Over time, the rebellion swept the land, in spite of brutal tactics used by the French to suppress it.
Ultimately, the fight for independence that began on 29 March was successful. And that first day when the conflict opened up is a solemn, patriotic day of remembrance for the people of Madagascar.