The Madagascar flag has the colors green, red and white, which stand for hope, sovereignty and purity. The flag has a red rectangle on top of a green rectangle with a white rectangle perpendicular to them.
One theory on the origin of the colors stems from the island's history. Red and white were the official colors of the Merina kingdom, which France conquered in 1898, as well as the Malagasy people of southeast Asia who inhabited the island. Additionally, the color green was the color used by the Hova people, a social class that were instrumental in the countries movement towards independence.
The flag was adopted on Oct. 14, 1958, and the country gained its official independence from France on June 26, 1960.
Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and currently has over 17,000,000 people as of 2014. The island was originally populated by Africans and Malayo-Indonesians. By the time of French rule, 18 ethnic groups had formed. The country's official languages are French and Malagasy. Its people's religions include Islam, Christianity and indigenous religions. The country had its first official presidential election in 1990 after 20 years of Marxist rule. Its first president took office in 1993.