Comoro Islands

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Comoro Islands

 

(known by the local inhabitants as the Moon Islands), a group of six islands in the Mozambique Channel of the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Africa. The Comoros were a French territory until 1975; they are now an independent state. Area, 2,171 sq km; population, 280,000 (1970). The inhabitants are primarily Antaloatra (of Arab descent), mixed with the Malagasy and Bantu peoples. The administrative center is Moroni, on Grande Comore Island. The islands, which are composed of basalts, are of volcanic origin; there are some active volcanoes. Elevations reach 2,560 m. The Comoro Islands are surrounded by coral reefs. The climate is tropical, hot, and humid. The annual precipitation is 1,100–3,000 mm. The upper regions of the slopes are covered with dense tropical forests; at lower elevations there are savannas and thickets. There are plantations on which rice, sugarcane, coconuts, bananas, coffee trees, and cloves are cultivated. Livestock is also raised. The Comoro Islands were discovered in 1598 by the Dutch navigator K. Hoetman. (According to other sources, they were discovered in 1591 by the British navigator J. Lancaster.)