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Comoros Islands: volcanic islands in the tropical marine environment

The Comoros Islands (Union des Comores/Udzima wa Komori/Union of the Comoros) is a federal republic of East Africa, whose capital is Moroni. Having been a French colony, the archipelago is located in the Indian Ocean north of the Mozambique Channel between Madagascar and the east coast of Africa.

The Comoros Islands are an archipelago of volcanic origin made up of three main islands. Mayotte (Maoré), although belonging geographically to the archipelago, is not a part of the Union of the Comoros. It is an overseas department of France. Thus only Grande Comore/Ngazidja with 1.148 sq km, Anjouan/Nzwani with 424 sq km and Mohéli/Mwali with 290 sq km form this island state.

The main towns are the capital Moroni on Grande Comore, Mutsamudu on the island of Anjouan, and Fomboni on Mohéli. The Comoros islands are mountainous and of volcanic origin. The main island of Grande Comore presents a still active volcanic cone, the Karthala with 2,361 metres, which is also the highest mountain in the archipelago.

The country is poor and overpopulated. The main economic resources are agricultural products like vanilla, sisal, coconuts, copra, ylang-ylang, cereals, sweet potatoes, rice and cassava on the one hand and livestock and fisheries on the other hand. The tourism potential is not yet exploited, because the necessary infrastructure is lacking.

English text correction by Dietrich Köster. 

  • Area: 1,862 sq km: arable land 44,8%, pastures 6,7%, forests and bushland 17,9%, uncultivated and unproductive land 30,6%.
  • Population: 800,000 (as of 2005): Arabs mixed with Africans, Malagasy and Asians
  • Capital: Moroni
  • Official Languages: The official languages are Shikomor, French and Arabic.
  • Religion: Muslims 98%.
  • Currency: Comorian franc (KMF).
  • Time Zone: UTC+3 hours.

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