Martyrs' Day in Madagascar Date in the current year: March 29, 2016

Martyrs' Day in Madagascar March 29 is a public holiday in the Republic of Madagascar known as Martyrs' Day. It honors the memory of those who died in the Malagasy Uprising that started on March 29, 1947.

In 1896, Madagascar was annexed by France. The islanders organized a resistance movement, but it was suppressed by the end of 1897. The occupation of France by the Nazis during World War II undermined the authority of the colonial government and accelerated the growth of the new resistance movement.

On March 29, 1947, Malagasy nationalists launched coordinated surprise attacks against French-owned plantations and military bases. The rebellion quickly spread throughout the island. The colonial authorities began to counter the rebels by May 1947. The French troops carried out torture, mass execution, collective punishment, death flights, and war rapes. The estimated number of Malagasy casualties varies from 10,000 to over 100,000.

Madagascar Martyr's Day was established to honor the memory of the victims. It is also referred to as Insurrection Day or Commemoration Day. On this day, the Malagasy government and the citizens of the country remember the patriots who gave their lives fighting for the independence of Madagascar.

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