The Antanosy is a Malagasy ethnic group who primarily live in the Anosy region of southeastern Madagascar, though there are also Antanosy living near Bezaha, where some of the Antanosy moved after the Merina people conquered Anosy. An estimated 360,000 people identify as Antanosy as of 2013.
The Antanosy constitute approximately two percent of the total population, forming one of the smallest Malagasy ethnic groups both in size and in traditional territory. They primarily live in the Anosy region of southeastern Madagascar, though there are also Antanosy living near Bezaha, where some of the Antanosy moved after the Merina people conquered Anosy.
The Antanosy speak a dialect of the Malagasy language, which is a branch of the Malayo-Polynesian language group derived from the Barito languages, spoken in southern Borneo.
The ancestors of today's Antanosy migrated from the north about 150–200 years ago. According to MAEP (2003), they are divided into three groups in the region:
While one source indicates there are five sub-ethnic groups of the Antanosy people (the Tesák, Ivondro, Tevatomalama, and Terara Temanalo) Rakotoarisoa indicates from the north of Anosy they are known as the Tavaratra (Manantenina region, though some indicate the people in Manantenina are the Temanantenina, with the Tavaratra located between the Temanantenina and the Tambato), the Tambolo (Ranomafana region), the Tambato (Mahatalaky and Manafiafy region), the Tanosy (Fanjahira region) and the Tatsimo (Ranopiso region).
However, this is still a simplification of a more complex reality, as in central Anosy alone there are 30 village clans.
Another way to describe the Antanosy is to focus on the Zafiraminia people who arrived in Anosy in the 16th Century, conquering those already living there, and whose former dynasty is bounded by cemeteries named Enosiavaratse (Manarivo), Enosy atsimo (Andromira) and Samby Anosy (Ifarantsa). For a picture of Antanosy warriors see).
Most Antanosy practice subsistence farming and sell their agricultural products, including rice and manioc. Many also use and sell products taken from the forest, including thatch for house roofing, honey, bush meat, fruits and mushrooms, and medicinal plant materials. Commerce most frequently occurs during local weekly markets, as the majority live in remote rural villages with low populations.[