A map of Comoros, including Mayotte (in the southeast) The Comoros is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, lying between the northern tip of Madagascar and the African mainland. Three main islands make up the Comoros: Ngazidja (Grande Comore), Mwali (Mohéli) and Nzwani (Anjouan). Each is surrounded by hundreds of tiny islets. A fourth island, Mayotte, is an overseas territory of France, but the Comoros’ government claims it as part of their nation. The islands are volcanic and hilly, covered in lush forests. They have a hot, tropical climate and a rainy season between October and April.
Comorians are descended from a mixture of the African, Arab, Malagasy (from Madagascar) and French peoples who have settled on the island since the 6th century. Most people speak Comorian, or Shikamor, a language with Arab and Swahili roots. A slightly different variation of the language is spoken on each of the islands. Many Comorian children go to religious schools where they learn to memorize parts of the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book.
The Comoros’ name comes from the Arabic word “qamar” meaning “moon”.
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