Several national and local sports teams, including the championship-winning national rugby team, the Makis, and several basketball and football teams, are based in Antananarivo.
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The city served as the capital of the Kingdom of Imerina from its founding until 1710, when Imerina split into four warring quadrants.
Antananarivo was declared the capital of the southern quadrant; it remained thus until King Andrianampoinimerina of Ambohimanga captured the province and restored its role as capital of a united Kingdom of Imerina in 1794.
His diplomatic and military successes extended Imerina far beyond its traditional borders, bringing the lands of neighboring ethnic groups under Merina control.
These conquests were continued under his son, Radama I, whose control ultimately extended over two thirds of the island, leading him to be considered the King of Madagascar by European diplomats, with Antananarivo as the island's capital.
), also known by its French colonial shorthand form Tana, is the capital and largest city in Madagascar.
The larger urban area surrounding the city, known as Antananarivo-Renivohitra ("Antananarivo-Mother Hill" or "Antananarivo-Capital"), is the capital of Analamanga region.
The city is located 1,280 m (4,199 ft) above the sea level in the center of the island, and has been the island's largest population center since at least the 18th century.
Antananarivo was historically the capital of the Merina people, who continue to form the majority of the city's estimated 1,300,000 (2013) inhabitants, as well as the surrounding urban areas which in all have a total metropolitan population approaching three million.
All 18 Malagasy ethnic groups, as well as residents of Chinese, Indian, European and other origins, are well represented in the city.