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Located off the southeast coast of Africa, Madagascar maintained a chiefly agricultural economy. Goods such as rice, manioc, coffee, sugar, vanilla, cotton, peanuts and tobacco were the main interests of the French who had established trading posts there.
First visited by the Portugese and Spanish, it was finally claimed as a protectorate of the French in the 1700s.
The Mozambique Channel and the Tropic of Capricorn provided excellent trade routes for vessels visiting the ports of Madagascar. Since the goods exported brought a high price on European markets, the waters surrounding the island were excellent hunting grounds for Pirates and Privateers.

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