The Union of the Comoros consists of a series of islands in the Comoro archipelago in the Indian Ocean; it lies off the coast of eastern Africa, north of Madagascar. With less than 1 million inhabitants, Comoros is one of the smallest nations in Africa, though it has one of the densest populations. Although most of the residents of the islands are Swahili-speaking settlers from Africa, the islands have been under Arab influence since the seventh century, when it and the island of Zanzibar north of the Comoros were populated by Arab traders and then came within the orbit of the Sultan of Oman.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to explore and control the islands, arriving in 1505. In the 17th century, Malagasy pirates harbored ...

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