The site was probably founded by the Sakalava king Andrianandisoaridy. The name comes from the Arabic ( mji Angaia " City of Flowers " ) or the Malagasy ( maha janga " what makes you healthy "). Already from the beginning, he served as a trading center and became the capital of the Sakalava kingdom Boina since the 18th century. Until 1808, the Sakalava to 1825 dominated the place, then the kings of Imerina. 1883 attack and destruction of the city by the French, who conquered the city in 1895. The city was named Majunga.
On 7 March 2004, the city was hit by the cyclone Gafilo, which wreaked considerable damage.
Originally lived here only members of the people of Tsimihety and Sakalava. But wandered through the commissioning of the port soon after Indians, Arabs and later to Chinese. The ethnic spectrum expanded during the colonial period still to Europeans and people of the Comoros. The latter set up to pogroms in 1976, even the majority. The census in 1975 was 65 864, those from 1993 106 780 inhabitants. Today, the site has around 160,000 inhabitants.
Due to the port of trade is the most important branch. First, slaves and rice were exported. Later, in addition to rice and cotton, corn, tobacco and sugar cane. Major employers are the cement plant and the food industry. Since 2000 there has been a joint venture with a Japanese company, which operates a shrimp farm on the peninsula south of the city.
Northeast of the city is the regional airport may be from which various domestic destinations as well as the Comoros and Réunion achieved. In addition, daily bus services in the capital. In the city there is a regional hospital. The city is since 1923 and since 1955 a Vicariate Apostolic episcopal see of the Catholic Church.
Due to the enormous deforestation in the interior of Madagascar, the access to the city's port has changed over the river Betsiboka for larger vessels by sand and gravel deposits. Today, cargo and personnel must be recharged at the mouth of the river on small boats or change.
From Mahajanga from the RN 4 covers a distance of 570 km in the capital Antananarivo.
In the city itself there are no major sights. In the region, especially the mouth level of Betsiboka and the numerous beaches are the contact points for the few tourists.
Approx. 150km from Mahajanga to the National Parks: National Park Baie de Baly and National Park Tsingy de Namoroka. 114 km south of Mahajange is the National Park Ankarafantsika.