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Literature on the History of East Africa
Tanzania Madagascar
First posted on July 2nd 2002, last revised on November 14th 2013

History of the Comores : Narrative . References : Online Secondary Sources . Online Primary Sources . Bibliographic and Print Sources

Precolonial . 1841-1912 . 1912-1946 . 1946-1975 . since 1975

Precolonial Era
The Comoros - Grande Comoro (Nzazidja), Anjouan (Nzwani), Moheli (Mwani) and Mayotte - have seen Malay, African and Arab immigration. In the 15th century, a group of Persians arrived, the Shirazi, who established a number of Sultanates. The population of the Comoros is Muslim; the island economy was based on trade, slaves being a major commodity.
The islands were visited by the Portuguese and the Dutch, both of whom did not attempt to establish footholds there.
Anjouan : Sultanate of Ndzuwani established c.1500; French protectorate 1886.
Grande Comore : Divided in a dozen polities; politically united in 1886, French protectorate established that year.
Mayotte : Sultanate of Mawuti established in 1500; turbulent history 1833-1841, then ceded to France.
Moheli : Until 1830 subject to the Sultanate of Ndzuwani (Anjouan); 1830-1886 Sultanate of Mwali, then French protectorate.

French Protectorates, 1841-1912
In 1841, Adrian Souli, Sultan of Mayotte, ceded his island to France. In 1865, the Queen of Moheli granted Frenchman Lambert the right to exploit her country. In 1886, with Britain and Germany competing for territorial acquisition in eastern Africa, France declared a protectorate over the Comoro islands. Rebellions (Mayotte 1856, Anjouan 1889, Grande Comore 1896, 1902, Moheli 1890) resulted in French military expeditions and the establishment of direct French administration. The islands were treated as individual colonies, for which stamps were issued : Anjouan 1892-1914, Grande Comoro 1897-1911, Moheli 1906-1911, Mayotte 1892-1914.
In 1904 the other islands administratively joined with Mayotte; in 1908, Mayotte and it's dependencies was placed under the administration of Madagascar, 1911/12 formally annexed to the colony of Madagascar.

Annex to Madagascar, 1912-1946
In 1911/12 the Comores were formally annexed to the colony of Madagascar.

French Overseas Territory of the Comoros, 1946-1975
The Comoros (Grand Comoro, Anjouan, Moheli and Mayotte) had been annexed to Madagascar since 1911/1912. In 1946, they were separated and granted administrative autonomy within the French Union.
In 1958, the islands assembly opted to stay within the French Union and declared an overseas territory; this brought a loss of the territory's autonomy, as the French Republic was centralistic. In 1968, the islands were given the status of an administrative region, with political autonomy. In 1974 referenda, Njazdja (Grand Comoro), Nzwani (Anjouan) and Mwali (Moheli) opted for independence, while Mayotte opted to remain a French overseas territory.
Njazdja, Nzwani and Mwali established the Republic of the Comoros.

Independence, 1975-
In 1975, the Republic of the Comoros declared independence. Before French rule, the Comoros have not been a political unit; under French rule, the indigenous population was largely excluded from the political process. The young republic was characterized by a political instability. When the referenda were held on the topic of independence in 1974, the inhabitants of Grand Comore, Anjouan and Moheli opted for independence, while those of Mayotte had opted to stay with France. The Republic of the Comoros thus is formed of 3 out of the 4 major islands of the archipelago; it claims Mayotte as well.
Coups in 1975 and 1978 brought in new governments, a third coup in 1983 failed. The official name was Etat Comorien (Comorian State) 1975-1978, Rebublique Federale Islamique des Comores (Federal Islamic Republic) since 1978.
In 1993, the Comoros joined the Arab League.
In 1997, the islands of Anjouan (188,900 inhabitants) and Moheli (Mwali, 24,300 inhabitants) declared their secession. Comorian troops invaded Anjouan (Nzwani) without success. In 2002 Anjouan (after having failed to restore its ties to France) rejoined the Comoros. Moheli rejoined the Comoros in 1998.

Historical Atlas, Comores Page

Country Profiles . Links . Organizations . Accounts of History . Politics . Military History . Economic History . Social History . Ethnography
History of Religion . Regional History . Local History . Institutions . Culture . Biography . Environmental History . Others
Country Profiles Modern from CIA World Factbook; BBC Country Profiles; World Desk Reference; Index Mundi, Nations Encyclopedia
Library of Congress, Country Studies : Comores
Article : Comoros, from Wikipedia
Country Profile : Comoros, from ISS; from IRIN (UN)
Historical A. Gevrey, Essai sur les Comores 1870, IA
J.C. Roux, Notices sur Mayotte et les Comores 1900, Gallica
R. Piolet et al., Empire colonial de la France. Madagascar, la Reunion, Mayotte, les Comores, Djibouti 1900, Gallica
E. Legeret, Etude sur les iles Comores 1897, Gallica
Links General from African Studies at UPenn; from Africa South of the Sahara at Stanford; from Library of Congress, Portals to the World; from BUBL
Category : Comoros, from Wikipedia
Comoro Islands Homepage, many links
on History Category : History of Comoros, from Wikipedia
Historical Dictionaries
Timelines from BBC News
Accounts of History Current from Comoros
Histoire de l'Archipelago, from mwezi.net, in French
Comoros History, from Arabic German Consulting
Specific Periods P. Beaujard, East Africa, the Comoros Islands and Madagascar before the sixteenth century. On a neglected part of the World-System, Azania XLII 2007
Politics Politics of Comoros, from Wikipedia; Political Resources on the Net : Comoros
Governments on the WWW : Comoros
DADM, Comoros, 1975-present
Military Wars of Comores, 1800-1999, from ACED
Orders, Decorations and Medals from the Comoros, posted by Jean Paul le Blanc, from ODM
Economy & Finances Entry Comoros, from Global History of Currencies, by Bryan Taylor; Currency Boards and Dollarization by Kurt Schuler; click for Comoros
Article Economy of Comoros, from Wikipedia
Category : Economy of Comoros, from Wikipedia
Wharton Financial Institutions Center : Comoros
Social History The Comoros, from Crime and Society, A Comparative Crimonology Tour of the World (R. Winslow)
Ethnography Languages of the Comores (5), from Ethnologue
World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples : Comoros
G.M. Shepoherd, The Comorians in Kenya: the establishment and loss of an economic niche thesis LSE 1982
Religion Chronology of Catholic Dioceses : Comores, from Kirken i Norge
Category : Religion in Comoros, from Wikipedia
G. Ferrand, Les Musulmans a Madagascar et aux iles Comores 1891, Gallica
by Region Article History of Anjouan, Moheli, from Wikipedia
Autonomous Islands of Comoros, from www.statoids.com
J.M. Merklin, Countries and Territories of the 20th Century, 2009 : Protectorat français des Comores 1900-07-08, Territoire dependant des Comores 1908-07-08, Colonie dependante de la Province des Comores 1918-07-08, 1928-07-08, 1938-07-08, Dependances du Territoire d'outre-mer des Comores 1948-07-08, 1958-07-08, Etat des Comores 1968-07-08, Federal and Islamic Republic of the Comoros 1978-07-08, 1988-07-08, 1998-07-08, 2008-07-08
J. Repiquet, Le sultanat d'Anjouan (Iles Comores) 1901, IA
C. Legros, La Grande Comore 1909, Gallica
Local History List of Cities in Comoros, from Wikipedia
Institutions Comoro Islands, Comoros, from Airline History
Structurae : Comoros, search Lighthouse Explorer for the Comoros
Cultural History Article Comoros at the Olympics, from Wikipedia
Biographies African Women Bibliographic Database
Dictionary of African Christian Biography
Environmental History Afrotropic Ecoregion, from WWF
Disaster History by Country : the Comoros, from Relief Web
Others A. Lignac, Les scandales de la Grande-Comore 1908, Gallica

Historical Data . Statistical Data . Documents Newspapers . Yearbooks . Image Databanks . Archival Deposits . Laws . Historiography
Document Collections . Historical Maps . Historical Encyclopedia Articles . Travelogues . Institutions . National Symbols
Historical Data Lists of Statesmen from World Statesmen (B. Cahoon), from Rulers (B. Schemmel), from World Rulers (E. Schulz, illustrated)
Regnal Chronologies : Southern Africa, scroll down for Anjouan, Grand Comoro, Mayotte, Moheli
Lists of Ambassadors U.S. Ambassadors to Comoros, from NNDB: Chinese Ambassadors to Comores, from PRC MOFA
Statistical Data Responsible Institution Direction de la Statistique, Moroni (Afristat)
Population Figures from Population Statistics (Jan Lahmeyer)
World Life Expectancy : Health Profile : Comoros
Exchange Rates Historical Exchange Rates, from Oanda, since 1990
Historical Exchange Rates, from FXTop, since 1965
Inflation Rates Trading Economics : Comoros Inflation Rate, 2001-
Index Mundi, Comoros Inflation Rate 1998-2011
Election Results from Psephos, since 2001; from IFES, since 2001; from African Elections Database, since 1974
Search IPU Parline for "Comoros"
Documents Historical Newspapers Hemerotheques
Online Newspapers Newspapers and News Media : Comoros, from ABYZ; from Online Newspapers, from World Newspapers (links)
Individual Articles
Online Yearbooks - Comores Entries Statesman's Year-Book, Mayotte and the Comoro Islands 1890, p.509, IA, 1891, p.513, IA, 1892, p.521, IA, 1894, p.521, IA, 1895, p.521, IA, 1896, p.521, IA, 1898, p.519, IA, 1899, p.561, IA, 1903, p.624, IA, 1913, p.834, IA, 1919, pp.866-868, IA, 1921, pp.892-894, IA
Yearbook of the United Nations, 1946-2007
Africa : 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004
Image Databanks Systematic Collections
Archives nationales d'outre-mer, Base Ulysse, image base (France)
Systematic Collections
From mwezi.net : Picture Postcards from ca. 1900
Accidental Collections Wikimedia Commons
Universal Collections
Items on Comores
License Plates, from Francoplaque, from License Plates around the World
Archival Deposits
Laws List of Ratifications of International Labour Conventions by Comores, from ILO, 29 docs. since 1978
Consular Reports
Document Surveys
Document Collections Africa Intelligence : Dossiers : the Anjouan Crisis
Historical Maps responsible institutions Direction du Cadastre et de la Topographie, National Mapping Agencies in Africa
Direction de l'urbanisme et de l'habitat, National Mapping Agencies in Africa
collections Search David Rumsey Map Collection for Comores
Comoros Maps, PCL, UTexas
Atlas of Comoros, Wikimedia Commons
Comores, Modern
Comores, Contemporary Carte particuli?e des costes de l'Afrique depuis C. Del Gado jusques Rio Mocambo, et les isles aux environs 1700, Gallica
Bellin, Carte des isles de Comore Johanna ou Anjouan Mohilla ou Moaly et Mayote 1747, Gallica
R. de Lannoy de Bissy, Carte de l'Afrique ?l'?helle de 1:2 000 000 46. Kiloa, 1885, 46. Kiloa, 1889, 46. Kiloa, 1893, Gallica
Africa 1:2.000.000, U.S. Army Map Service, sheet sheet 32 Tananarive (1968), PCL, UTexas
Detail, Modern
Detail, Contemporary TEylandt Ansuany, Gallica
I. Anjoane, Gallica
The Island of Johanna, Gallica
Cornwal, Carte de l'isle d'Anjouan, une des isles de Comore, Gallica
Watson, Plan of the N.W. part of the island Mayotta 1774, Gallica
Encyclopedia Entries
Secular Article Comoro Islands, EB 1911, from Classic Encyclopedia, Internet Archive Wayback Machine
Article Comoroinseln, from Meyers Konversationslexikon 1885-1892, in German
Religious Article Mayotte, Nossi Be and Comoro, from Catholic Encyclopedia 1907
Ethnographical E. Reclus, A.H. Keane, The Earth and its Inhabitants Africa vol.4 : South and East Africa, 1890, IA : Comoros, pp.466-471
E. Reclus, A.H. Keane, Africa and its Inhabitants vol.4 1899, IA; Comoros pp.466-471
Parliamentary Debates
Travelogues B.F. Leguevel de Lacombe, Voyage a Madagascar et aux iles Comores (1823-1830) 1840, IA, also at Gallica
Institutions Archives
Musea Museums in Comoros, from International Council of African Museums
Official Symbols Flags, Coats of Arms Flag, from FOTW; Coat of Arms, from Wikipedia
National Anthem, from David's National Anthem Reference Page
Flag of Ndzuwani (Anjouan), from World Civic Heraldry Guide, Flag of Ngazidja (Grande Comore), from World Civic Heraldry Guide
Coins, Banknotes Banknotes of the Comores, from World Currency Museum, from Ron Wise's World Paper Money
Comoros coins from World Coin Gallery
Stamps Stamps Grande Comore 1893-1912, Anjouan 1893-1912, Moheli 1893-1912, from Stamps Catalogue 1840-1920 by Evert Klaseboer

Bibliographies . Online Libraries . Thesis Servers . Online Journals . General Accounts . Specific Topics . Historical Dictionaries . Statistical Data . Yearbooks
Bibliographies general Search ISBN Database
on the Comoros survey of bibliographies
bibliographic database AfricaBib : Africana Periodical Literature, African Women, Women Travelers, Explorers and Missionaries to Africa
African Borderlands Research Network : Bibliography
general bibliographies Bibliography, from Library of Congress Country Studies : Comoros
annual bibliographies
specialist bibliographies Malango, Bibliographie : a propos de Mayotte
S.M.S. Hassani, La resistance a la conquete et a la domination coloniale en Grande Comore: 1880-1940, II. Les sources imprimees, Memoires Online
serial publications
general bibliographies
Comoros entries
J. Gay, Bibliographie des ouvrages relatifs a l'Afrique et a l'Arabie : catalogue methodique de tous les ouvrages français et des principaux en langues etrangeres traitant de la geographie, de l'histoire, du commerce, des lettres et des arts de l'Afrique et de l'Arabie 1875, in French, Gallica
Roots Institute, Bibliography of Published Primary Sources in African History (English Language)
Komoren-Bibliographie, from Afrika-Handbuch, at Univ. of Vienna
Online Libraries general Google Books; Internet Archives; Gutenberg Library Online; HathiTrust; Gallica
International Boundary Studies
on the Comoros Aluka, African Online Digital Library (AODL), African Digital Library (ADL)
Thesis Server Open Access Theses and Dissertations
Online Journals
General Accounts
Specific Topics
Historical Dictionaries
Statistical Data IHS : B.R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics. Africa, Asia & Oceania 1750-2000, London : Palgrave 2003 [G]
Yearbook Entries Britannica Book of the Year French Union, 1951 pp.311-312, 1953 p.300, 1954 pp.298-299, 1955 pp.344-346, 1956 pp.281-282, 1957 pp.343-345, 1958 pp.279-280 [G]
French Community, 1959 pp.275-27, 1960 pp.274-275, 1961 pp.285-286, 1962 pp.277-278, 1963 p.392, 1964 pp.381-382, 1965 p.376, 1967 pp.357-358 [G]
Colonies and Other Dependencies : Comoro Islands, 1968 p.217 [G]
Dependent States : Comoro Islands, 1969 p.279, 1970 p.279, 1971 p.269, 1972 p.241, 1973 p.232, 1974 p.248 [G]
Dependent States : Indian Ocean, 1975 p.231 [G]
Comoro Islands, 1976 p.203, 1977 p.207, 1978 p.257 [G]
Comoros, 1979 pp.260-261, 1980 p.258, 1981 p.254, 1982 p.252, 1983 pp.248-249, 1984 p.245, 1985 pp.463, 660, 1986 pp.458, 656, 1988 pp.387, 577, 1989 pp.386-387, 577, 1990 pp.403-404, 592, 1993 pp.358-359, 587, 1994 pp.356-357, 587, 1995 pp.395-396, 587 [G]
Statesman's Yearbook Mayotte and the Comoro Islands, 1895 p.521, 1898 p.519, 1901 pp.596-597, 1905 p.658, 1910 pp.802-803, 1919 pp.866-868, 1924 pp.916-917, 1925 pp.927-928, 1926 pp.900-901, 1928 pp.915-917, 1929 p.903, 1932 p.905, 1937 p.946, 1943 pp.930-931 [G]
France : Comoro Archipelago, 1970-1971 pp.929-930, 1975-1976 pp.944-945 [G]
Comoros, 1978-1979 pp.357-359, 1980-1981 pp.360-361, 1983-1984 pp.369-370, 1984-1985 pp.367-369, 1985-1986 pp.369-371, 1987-1988 pp.374-376, 1988-1989 pp.376-378, 1989-1990 pp.379-381, 1990-1991 pp.378-380, 1991-1992 pp.378-380, 1992-1993 pp.441-443, 1993-1994 pp.447-449, 1994-1995 pp.437-439, 1995-1996 pp.430-433, 1996-1997 pp.369-371, 1997-1998 pp.378-381, 1998-1999 pp.414-417, 2000 pp.479-482, 2001 pp.465-468, 2002 pp.485-488, 2003 pp.483-486, 2004 pp.484-487, 2005 pp.481-484 [G]
Americana Annual Comoro and the Mayotte Islands. 1927 p.220, 1928 p.202, 1930 pp.214-215, 1931 p.229, 1932 p.192, 1933 pp.200-201, 1935 pp.183-184, 1936 p.184, 1938 p.184, 1937 p.174, 1939 p.208, 1940 p.208, 1943 p.204, 1944 p.198 [G]
Comoro Islands, 1957 pp.196-197, 1961 p.177, 1962 p.179, 1963 p.173, 1964 p.174, 1976 p.72 [G]

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