Antsiran̈ana is situated on a promontory at the northern tip of Madagascar. The city was formerly known as Diégo-Suarez, named after Portuguese explorer Diogo Soares, who visited the bay in the 16th century. After the first Franco-Hova War, Queen Ranavalona III granted France a protectorate over the bay and surrounding territory and the town became the capital of the French colony, with a developing naval base and coaling station for steamships. Today, the local economy still depends on the naval yards and on the transshipment of cargoes.
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