Located in the Mozambique Channel between Madagascar and the African mainland, Comoros consists of an archipelago of islands, of which Grande Comore is the largest, with Moroni as the capital. The whole archipelago was inhabited by African and Austronesian settlers as early as the 1st century c.e. The population embraced Islam in the 7th century, and trade and kinship ties started to link Comoros with Zanzibar and Oman, which can still be seen through the architecture and some place names. Portuguese explorers arrived, and in 1841 the French began their colonial rule, briefly administering Mwali (Mohéli), Anjouan, and Mayotte separately. The economy of the islands briefly flourished until the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, which reduced shipping using the Mozambique Channel. Under French ...

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