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torstai 13. elokuuta 2015

Comoros, Cool Facts #61

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1. Geography

The Comoros islands is geographically constituted of four islands, which are Grande Comore, Moheli, Anjouan and Mayotte. Although Mayotte doesn't belong to the state of Comoros, it's a part of France in fact. Comoros lies in the Indian Ocean between northern Mozambique and Madagascar. In 1997 Anjouan and Moheli islands rebelled as they demanded for independence or restoring the French rule. France rejected which resulted the islands to declare independence. This led to fights between the federal government and the rebels. So from the four islands, one is part of France, three belong to the independent state of Comoros but two of them want independence.




2. Languages



Three languages are spoken in Comoros. Arabi, French and Comorian. Shikomor is the name of the Comorian language and it's related to Swahili. 

Shikomor is the most common language and it's spoken on all four islands. 

Arabic is a second language, being the language of Quaring teaching because the majority of the population are Muslims. 

French is the administrate language and the language of formal education. 

Kibushi, is a Malagasy language spoken by about a third of the population of Mayotte. 

The variety of languages spoken in Comoros demonstrate how different population groups have arrived to Comoros along the centuries. People from Southeast Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe have come to Comoros and influenced how it is currently. The Comorian are a mixture of these different races. 

Comoran wedding guests

3. Mayotte 

Mayotte is the outermost region of the European Union. Comoros has claimed the island of Mayotte for itself, but the people of Mayotte don't want to join Comoros. Mayotte enjoys the support of France and it's the wealthiest island in the region. Comoros as an unstable country with about 20 coups during its independence has resulted in people moving from the unstable and poor Comoros to Mayotte, both legally and illegally.

The historical reasons for Comoros to reclaim Mayotte are that the four islands were governed as a single administration since 1908. In 1912 they became a province of the Madagascar colony. When Comoros became independent in 1975 Mayotte stayed with France and in the following referendums it has always voted for staying under French rule.

Mayotte


4. Volcanoes

There is volcanic activity in Comoros and the islands were actually formed by volcanic activity. 

In the biggest island Grande Comore there are two volcanoes, Karthala and La Grille. Karthala is the active volcano and it has erupted over 20 times since the 1800s. The last eruptions where in 2005 and 2006. Mount Karthala is a shield volcano forming the country's highest point at 2,361 meters. The crater lake was 3 by 4 km in size before it was destroyed in 2005 eruptions. Over 40,000 citizens had to be evacuated. 

Mount Karthala


5. Ylang-Ylang

Comoros is the world's biggest producer of ylang-ylang. Ylang-ylang is a tropical tree valued for its perfume. The oil from the flowers is used in aromatherapy. The plant is originally from the Philippines and Indonesia. The name is derived from Tagalog word "ilang" meaning wilderness. Perfume distillation is the only considerable industry in Comoros. 


Ylang-ylang flower





Timeline

1503 The Portuguese visited the archipelago for the first time
1793 Malagasy warriors from Madagascar started raiding the islands for slaves
1841 France established colonial rule in the Comoros
1886 All the Comoros Sultanates are under French rule
1912 Comoros is attached as a part of the French Madagascar
1961 Comoros gets autonomy
1975 Comoros becomes independent
1997 Anjouan and Mohel islands want to restore the French colony rule or become independent
1999 Comoros experienced the 18th coup since the independence president Massounde was overthrown by Colonel Azali Assoumani
2002 Azali wins the democratic elections
2006 First peaceful and democratic exchange of power in Comoros
2008 Crisis in Anjouan
2009 Mayotte referendum, people voted for gaining the status of a French department

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comoros
Maailman maat liput ja historia by Kimmo Kiljunen

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