The three million Merina form the largest tribe of Madagascar. They speak a Malayo - Polynesian language and live in the central highlands around Antananarivo, the capital of the territory of the Imerina.
Their ancestors, the Malays migrated from the Malay Archipelago to a new era. To date, the Indonesian characteristics of the Merina are visible. With about 26 % are the Merina, the largest group of the Malagasy population;
Like most tribes in Madagascar Merina practice a syncretism of Christianity and animism.
In the late 18th century Merina kings took control of large parts of the island, which was completed in 1896 by the invasion of the French.