1. The Comoros are a group of islands in the Indian Ocean, located about 180 miles (290 km) off the eastern coast of Africa, between northern Mozambique and northern Madagascar. Its the 4th smallest African country.
2. The three Comoros islands are: Grande Comoro (Ngazidja), Anjouan (Nzwani), Mohéli (Mwali). A fourth island, Mayotte, is claimed by Comoros, but is a French overseas territory.
3. The capital and largest city is Moroni on Grande Comoro island.
4. The population consists almost entirely of persons of mixed African, Malagasy, Malay, and Arab descent. Major ethnic groups: Antalote, Cafre, Makoa, Oimatsaha, Sakalava and Shirazi.
5. Major languages: French, Arabic and Comorian (aka Shikomori). Comorian is spoken by 97% of the population, typically as a first language.
6. Major religions: Islam (98%), Christianity (2%)
7. Comoros is the only majority Muslim country in southern Africa.
8. The Comoros islands were colonized by France in the late 19th century.
9. Comoros gained independence from France in 1975 (except Mayotte, which voted to remain under French rule). It’s had more than 20 attempted or actual coups since independence.
10. Comoros is one of the world’s poorest countries, with an economy based largely on subsistence agriculture and fishing.
11. The Comoros are known as the Perfume Islands due to the ever-present smell of vanilla, cloves and other spices. The Comoros are one of the world’s largest producers of Ylang-Ylang essence for perfume.
12. Mount Karthala, an active volcano, is the highest point at 7746 feet (2631 meters) above sea level. Its last eruption was in January 2007.
13. The Comoros are a remote destination, with a small tourism industry and minimal tourism infrastructure (outside of Mayotte). The main tourist attractions are its beaches, underwater fishing, mountain scenery, and the medina, mosque and Vola Vola market in the capital.