Cities and Regions
Regions of Comoros - Mahoré

Southeast of Nzwani lies the island of Mahoré, the oldest of the four islands. Also known as Mayotte, it is closest to the island of Madagascar and is geologically the oldest of the Comoro Islands. It is the most eroded and has slow moving, muddy streams. The island, along with several satellite islets, is surrounded by a coral reef which is about a mile wide. Only two passages permit the entrance of large ships, thus providing a secure harbor. With an area of 374 square kilometers (144 square miles), it has a population of more than 201,234 inhabitants.


Mahoré’s towns do not have the walled cities with narrow, winding streets of the other islands. Instead, towns are primarily comprised of wattle-and-daub or coconut-frond huts ranged along wide, open streets, similar to the architecture of Madagascar.


The island produces sugar cane, vanilla, ylang-ylang, cloves, copra, and cinnamon. In recent years, Mahoré has produced the majority of the archipelago's cinnamon. A variety of fragrant rice is also grown and cattle production is an important part of its economy.


Dzaoudzi, capital of Comoros until 1962 is now Mahoré's administrative center. It is situated on a rocky outcropping off the east shore of the main island, and is linked by a causeway to the islet of le Pamanzi. The principal towns are:


- Pamandzi/Dzaoudzi (Petite-Terre), with 19,000 inhabitants


- Mamoudzou (Grande-Terre), with 31,000 inhabitants


Islets are also scattered in the coastal waters of Ngazidja, Nzwani, and Mwali.


In 1841 Mayotte/ Maoré became a French colony, and from 1946 to 1975, an Overseas Territory. When the Comoros Islands declared independence in 1975, the people of Mayotte voted in favor of remaining part of the French Republic. Since 1976, Mayotte/ Mahoré has been a French Administered Territory, under a French representative with the rank of Prefect.

A five-year development plan (1986-91) focused the construction of a deepwater port at Longoni and an airport at the capital, Dzaoudzi. Despite Mahoré's great natural beauty, its isolation and the lack of tourist facitlites have inhibited a tourism industry.

The two languages spoken on Mahoré are Chimaoré and French. Islam is the religion of a large majority of Maorais.


Maoré is claimed by Comoros (a claim recognized by the United Nations General Assembly), but its status is unsettled, and it continues to be a de facto dependency of France.