Comoros

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COMOROS consists of three volcanic islands in the Indian Ocean sit­uated between mainland Africa and Madagascar. Physically, four islands make up the group, but the island of Mayotte remained a French depen­dency when the three western islands became a federal Islamic republic in 1975.

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The islands are mostly forested, and the tropical climate is affected by Indian monsoon winds from the north. There is a wet season from November to April which is accompanied by cyclones.

Only small areas of the islands are cultivated, and most of this land belongs to for­eign plantation owners. The chief product was formerly sugar cane, but now vanilla, copra, maize, cloves, and essential oils are the most impor­tant products. The forests provide timber for building, and there is a small fishing industry. The coelacanth, a primitive bony fish, previously thought to have been extinct for millions of years, was discovered living in the seas off Comoros.

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