Posted by: Dr. Y. | January 8, 2018

Why the Name: Comoros?

Comoros_flag

Flag of the Comoros

How many people know the country of Comoros? Have you ever heard about it? Have you ever wondered where the name Comoros come from? Well, I have… At first I wondered if it was like Cameroon, whose name comes from Rio dos Camarões, and so since Comoros seems to rime with Camarões, will Comoros mean Shrimp?

Well, my previous assumption was forgetting the fact that the Comoros, or rather the Union of the Comoros, had once seen the influence of Arabic sailors. So, the name Comoros comes from the Arabic word qamar, meaning moon! He he he… Comoros essentially means Moon.

Comoros_Map of the Comores 1747

Map of the Comoros, 1747

The Comoros is a sovereign archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of Africa between northeastern Mozambique and northwestern Madagascar. Other countries near the Comoros are Tanzania to the northwest and the Seychelles to the northeast. Its capital is Moroni, on Grande Comore. The Union of the Comoros has three official languagesShikomori (Comorian), Arabic and French. The religion of the majority of the population is Islam.

cn-area

The Comoros with the map of Africa (Countryreports.org)

Comoros is a nation formed at the crossroads of different civilizations; it is almost like Madagascar in its cultural diversity: it was first inhabited by Bantu speakers from East Africa, and later its population was supplemented by Arab and Austronesian immigration. Islam was introduced around after the 650s AD. It was a major hub of trade and an important location in a network of trading towns that included Kilwa, in present-day Tanzania, Sofala (an outlet for Zimbabwean gold), in Mozambique, and Mombasa in Kenya. The country became part of the French colonial empire in the 19th century before becoming independent in 1975.

Comoros_Port of Moroni 1908

Port of Moroni, Comoros (1908)

The Comoros is formed by Ngazidja (Grande Comore), Mwali (Mohéli) and Nzwani (Anjouan), three major islands in the Comoros Archipelago, as well as many minor islets. The capital and largest city, Moroni, is located on Ngazidja. The archipelago is situated in the Indian Ocean, in the Mozambique Channel, between the African coast (nearest to Mozambique and Tanzania) and Madagascar, with no land borders.  In addition, the country has a claim on a fourth major island, southeastern-most Mayotte (Maore), though Mayotte voted against independence from France in 1974, has never been administered by an independent Comoros government, and continues to be administered by France (currently as an overseas department). France has vetoed United Nations Security Council resolutions that would affirm Comorian sovereignty over the island.

Cloves1

Cloves

The main export of the islands are vanilla, ylang-ylang, and clove. The Comoros are the world’s largest producer of ylang-ylang.

So, if you ever visit the Comoros, imagine the moon! Enjoy its sandy beaches, and its lovely people!


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