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The Comoros Islands

Located in a strategic position at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel, the archipelago of the Comoros Islands consists of four islands: Ngazidja (Grande Comore), Mwali (Moheli), Nzwani (Anjouan), and Mahore (Mayotte). The islands arose from the seabed of the Western Indian Ocean as the result of volcanic activity.

The Union of Comoros islands once played a major role in the world economy and that of the Indian ocean. For centuries, they were a major stopover along the mercantile routes from the East towards Africa and to the West. The capital city Moroni is on Ngazidja (Grande Comore) island.

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There is an abundance of life in the sea around the Comoros. One can find everything from giant whales, sharks, big manta rays, sailfish, sunfish to lobsters, crabs and tiny shrimp. Deep water close to the islands, coral reefs, miles of sandy beaches, plus fresh water streams and shoreline springs provide multiple habitats for the marine life.

The islands became a French colony following the Berlin conference of 1886-7 and remained under French political control until 1975 when three of the islands: Ngazidja (Grande Comore), Mwali (Moheli), and Nzwani (Anjouan), declared independence from France. They are now forming the Union of Comoros with each of the three islands given considerable autonomy. The fourth major island of the archipelago, Maore (Mayotte), continued to be administered by France although Maore belongs within the sphere of the independent nation of the Comoros which has been recognized by the United Nations’ General Assembly.