Madagascar is a republic in the Indian Ocean, separated from the south-eastern coast of Africa by the Mozambique Channel. Madagascar is made up of Madagascar Island, the fourth largest island in the world, and several small islands. The country’s area totals 587,041 sq km (226,658 sq mi). Madagascar was annexed by the French in 1896 and became self-governing within the French Community in 1958 as the Malagasy Republic. It gained full independence in 1960 and took the name Democratic Republic of Madagascar in 1975. It became the republic of Madagascar in 1993 after a new constitution was adopted.