Interesting facts about Comoros

comoros flag

The Comoros is a sovereign archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean between the eastern coast of Africa and Madagascar.

The official name of the country is the Union of the Comoros.

Neighboring countries include Tanzania, Seychelles, Mozambique and Madagascar.

The Comoros has three official languages: Comorian, French and Arabic.

As of 1 January 2017, the population of Comoros was estimated to be 817,324 people.

It is the 170th largest country in the world in terms of land area with 2,034 square kilometers (785 square miles). It is the fourth smallest country in Africa by area.

Moroni is the largest city, federal capital and seat of the government of the Comoros. It is located on Grande Comore the largest of the three main islands. In Comorian, Moroni translates as “in the heart of the fire”, perhaps alluding to the city’s location at the foot of Mount Karthala, an active volcano.


The country consists of three major islands and numerous smaller islands, all in the volcanic Comoros archipelago.

The major islands are commonly known by their French names: northwestern-most Grande Comore (Ngazidja); Mohéli (Mwali); and Anjouan (Nzwani).

The interiors of the islands vary from steep mountains to low hills.

Mount Karthala is an active volcano and the highest point of the Comoros at 2,361 meters (7,746 feet) above sea level. The Karthala volcano is very active, having erupted more than 20 times since the 19th century.

mount karthala

The coastline of the islands total 340 kilometers (211 miles) in length.

With its crystalline blue waters and white sand beaches, it is a true natural beauty that remains largely untouched by tourism.

comoros beach

Comoros offers one of the world’s largest coral atolls which parades hundreds of fish species, shells and corals. This offers great opportunity for scuba diving and snorkelling with great chances of seeing large turtles, manta rays, marline and whale sharks, among others.

comoros underwater

Lac Sale is a sulphur rich salt water lake in a volcanic crater. The lake adjacent to the beach beyond Mytsamiouli in Grand Comore.

lac sale

The Nouvelle Mosquee de Vendredi is a mosque in the Indian Ocean country of Union of the Comoros. It is situated in the country capital Moroni. The Vendredi Mosque is noted for its unique Comoran architectural style.

nouvelle mosquee de vendredi

The religion of the majority of the population is Islam.

The first human inhabitants of the Comoro Islands are thought to have been Polynesian and Melanesian settlers, Malays and Indonesians, traveling by boat. They settled in at least the sixth century C.E., the date of the earliest known archaeological site, found on Nzwani, and some sources speculate settlement as early as the first century.

Bantu-speaking settlers reached the islands as a part of the greater Bantu expansion that took place in Africa throughout the first millennium.

Portuguese explorers visited the archipelago in 1505.

France colonized Mayotte in 1843 and by 1904 had annexed the remainder of the archipelago.

france ships

In a 1974 referendum, 95% of the population voted for independence. The exception was Mayotte, which, with its Christian majority, voted against joining the other mainly Islamic islands in independence. Today it remains a French overseas territory.

Three of the islands gained independence in 1975.

Since declaring independence, the country has experienced more than 20 coups d’état or attempted coups, with various heads of state assassinated.

The Comoros is one of the world’s poorest countries.

Most inhabitants make their living from subsistence agriculture or fishing.

comoros fisherman

Natural resources are in short supply and the islands’ chief exports – vanilla, cloves and perfume essence – are prone to price fluctuations. Money sent home by Comorans living abroad is an important source of income.

The Comoros is the world’s largest producer of ylang-ylang, which is valued for the perfume extracted from its flowers.

The mammalian diversity of the Comoros, like most other young volcanic islands, is restricted to marine mammals and bats; plus few introduced species.

The Mongoose Lemur, originally introduced from Madagascar is now found only on two islands in the Comoros.

mongoose lemur

There are 146 bird species, of which 14 are endemic and 6 have been introduced by humans.

Moheli Marine Park is the first protected area in the Comoros. It was established on 19 April 2001.

The climate is generally tropical and mild, and the two major seasons are distinguishable by their raininess. The temperature reaches an average of 29–30 °C (84–86 °F) in March, the hottest month in the rainy season (which runs from December to April), and an average low of 19 °C (66 °F) in the cool, dry season (which proceeds from May to November).

With fewer than a million people, the Comoros is one of the least populous countries in the world, but is also one of the most densely populated, with an average of 275 inhabitants per square kilometre (710/sq mi).

The military resources of the Comoros consist of a small standing army and a 500-member police force, as well as a 500-member defence force.