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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Comoros is composed of three islands: Grande Comore (Ngazidja), Anjouan (Nzwani), and Mohéli (Mwali). The volcanic action created the islands along a fissure in the underlying seabed running west-northwest to east-southeast. The center of Grande Comore is a desert lava field. Hilly, black basalt relief formations rise 1,200 to 1,600 meters (3,950 to 5,250 feet) on Anjouan and 500 to 800 meters (1,650 to 2,600 feet) Mohéli.

The islands of Comoros are surrounded by the waters of the Mozambique Channel, an arm of the Indian Ocean set apart by Madagascar’s island.

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