Anosy is one of the 22 regions of Madagascar in the southeast of the country. It is located on the eastern side of what used to be Province of Tulear. The name "Anosy" means "island(s)" in Malagasy.
Due to a strategic main searoute running along its coast, Anosy has been an osmotic crossroads for Malagasy and the rest of the world over the last 500 years. In the 1500s it served as a supplying area for European ships sailing to and from the Indies, and in the mid-1600s it was the location of an early French colonial settlement in the Indian Ocean. The region was part of the Merina Kingdom for much of the 1800s and part of the French colony of Madagascar from the late 1800s to 1960.
Its exports have included human slaves (shipped to Mascarene Islands and the United States in the 1700s), live cattle (exported to Réunion for almost 300 years), sisal, natural rubber, Rosy Periwinkle, graphite, uranothorite, lobster, sapphires, and, in the last five years, ilmenite. Due to its biodiversity and natural beauty, efforts commenced in the 1980s to promote environmental conservation and tourism in the region.
Anosy is a region in southeastern Madagascar. It borders Androy region in the west, Atsimo-Andrefana in the northwest, Ihorombe in the north and Atsimo-Atsinanana in the northeast. This region is 25731 km2, about the size of the US State of Vermont, the island of Cyprus or the nation of Israel, running from approximately Manantenina in the northeast corner of the region, and west to Ranomafana and the Mandrare river. The distance from Manantenina at the northern edge of Anosy to the Mandrare river at the south is almost 150 km. "Anosy" means "island" or "islands" in Malagasy. Possibly, Anosy was named after the island in the Fanjahira (now named Efaho) river where the Zafiraminia first settled when they arrived in this region in the 16th century. Another theory is that the name means "land of the islands" because of the large amount of water in this region. During the rainy season, the Efaho valley floods, creating many temporary islands.
Tôlanaro, located 1,122 km south of Antananarivo, is the capital and the overall population of Anosy, primarily the Antanosy, was estimated to be 671,805 in 2013. At present it is doubling roughly every 15 years. In terms of people per square kilometer, this varies from 52 in the Tôlanaro District, 21 in the Amboasary Atsimo District, and only 14 in the Betroka District. There are also Antandroy living in the region, especially in the Tôlanaro District and in the Amboasary-Sud District, and Malagasy from other parts of the island who live and work in Anosy. The Betroka District also has Bara people, though they primarily live in the rural part of the district.
While the region has been a source of a wide variety of valuable exports for more than 100 years, some of them quite valuable, most of the people who live in this region are very poor, with an estimated GDP in 2004 of just $180, when the national average was @210. Four out of five (80%) of its inhabitants don't have access to clean water, one in six suffer from serious respiratory illnesses and literacy is less than 20% and 65% of the watershed slopes are highly degraded.