The World at War

COMORO ISLANDS 1785 - 1976


1785Sakalava slave traders from Madagascar begin raiding the Comoros. The islanders are carried off to be sold to French sugar plantations on Mauritius or Reunion. The island of Mohéli is virtually depopulated. Comoran pleas to the European powers for aid go unanswered.
1802April 28 General Jean Antoine Rossignol, deported, first to the Seychelles and later to the Comoros, for plotting to overthrow the Emperor Napoleon I dies at Mutsamudu on Anjouan.
1808Karthala, the 8,500 foot high volcano dominating Grande Comoro, erupts. It is the first of the mountain’s 20 eruptions over the next century.
1816The Sultan of Anjouan, Abdallah bin Alawi petitions the Governor of Reunion, General Bouvet de Lozier, requesting the protection of King Louis XVIII of France against Zanzibar pirates.
1828Ramanateka and a hundred of his Hova followers driven from Madagascar following the death of Radama I seek refuge on Mayotte. Sultan Boina Kombo bin Amadi allows them to settle on Moheli. Ramanteka seizes power on Moheli, converts to Islam and proclaims himself Sultan Abderahmane.
1841The Governor of Reunion, Vice Admiral Louis de Hell, dispatches Commandant Pierre Passot to Mayotte to negotiate a treaty of protection with the Sultan of Anjouan, Salim bin Alawi.
1842Queen Jumbe Fatima bint Abderremane of Moheli request French protection against Zanzibar.
1843June 13 France annexes the island of Mayotte. French Resident Pierre Passot establishes a headquarters on Zaudzi, an islet within the coral reef surrounding Mayotte.
1846Slavery is abolished on Mayotte.
1848A British consul is posted on Anjouan in an attempt to establish Great Britain as the prevailing European influence on the island. Ships of the Royal Navy begin to use the small anchorage at Pomony on the south side of the island as a coal depot.
1856Laborers on Mayotte rise up against harsh conditions imposed by Creole plantation owners.
1865French adventurer Joseph Lambert created Duke of Imerina by King Radama II of Madagascar journeys to Moheli where he obtains a concession to develop nearly all the land on the island from Queen Jumbe Fatima bint Abderremane.
ca. 1872 The British India Steam Navigation Company’s steamer to Zanzibar begins collecting mail in the Comoros. 1878
Joseph Lambert dies. Moheli falls into a state of anarchy worsened by concurrent French and British maneuvering for influence.
1880French steamers link Mayotte with Reunion via Nossi Be.
1882Sultan Saidi Abdallah bin Salim turns to France for protection after Great Britain attempts to gain the abolition of slavery on Anjouan.
1883Leon Humblot, sent by the Museum of Natural History of Paris to study the flora and fauna of the Indian Ocean islands, signs a treaty with the Sultan Said Ali of Bambao on Grande Comoro granting him as much land as he can develop and workers in return for 10% of the profits.
1885La Compagnie Messageries Maritimes’ Colonial Line links the Comoros with Madagascar. Hachimu bin Mugné Mku seizes power from Queen Khadija binti Mugné Mku of Badgini on Grande Comoro. Hachimu tries to convince the French declare Badgini a protectorate separate from Grande Comoro. The French refuse. They declare Hachimu to be in revolt against Sultan Saidi Ali of Grande Comoro and refuse to recognize him as Sultan of Badgini.
1886April 21 Saidi Abdallah bin Salim Sultan of Anjouan accepts a French protectorate.
April 26 Sultan Mohammed Shekhe of Moheli accepts a French protectorate.
June 24 The Sultan of Grande Comoro Saidi Ali bin Saidi Omar accepts a French protectorate.
During the Year Hachimu bin Mugné Mku attempts to place Badgini under the protection of the German East Africa Company. The Company initially accepts the proposition but backs out when its agent, Karl Wilhelm Schmidt, discovers that Hachimu is a rebel fighting an existing French protectorate.
1889November Leon Humblot is named French Resident on Grande Comoro. He establishes La Société Anonyme de la Grande Comore, a concessionary company specializing coconuts and fragrant blossoms particularly those of the peppery Ylang Ylang. Humblot’s company gradually spreads throughout the archipelago and forms a network of vertically integrated agricultural enterprises which eventually gain a near monopoly on economic activity in the islands. 1891
April 23 – July 16 French Marines of the Indian Ocean Fleet land on Anjouan to quell a revolt against Sultan Saidi Omar bin Saidi Hasan.
August 16 – November 19 French Marines of the Indian Ocean Fleet land on Grande Comoro to quell a revolt.
1892The Iles Glorieuses, three islets 255 kilometers north of Mayotte , are annexed by France and placed under the authority of the Governor of Mayotte. The population of about 20 is engaged in the collection of guano and the capture of sea turtles.
1898A severe cyclone devastates Mayotte.
1902A post office is opened on Moheli.
1907La Société Coloniale de Bambao is formed to operate concessions on the lands of the Sultan of Anjouan.
1908April 9 The Comoro Islands are placed under the supreme authority of the Governor General of Madagascar. Local administration remains in the hands of the French Resident on Mayotte.
1909A French court rules the 1892 ouster of Saidi Ali as Sultan of Grande Comoro illegal. He is not allowed to return to power and force to accept financial compensation.
1910February 3 The Sultan of Grande Comoro Saidi Ali bin Saidi Omar visits France and formally cedes his sovereign rights to France.
During the Year The population of the Comoros numbers some 82,000 including 600 Europeans and 200 Indians.
1912July 25 Anjouan is annexed by France as a colony.
1914February 23 The Comoros are made a dependency of Madagascar.
During the Year Leon Humblot, former French Resident and the business magnate of Grande Comoro, dies.
1915The residents of Oichili on Grande Comoro refuse to accept the imposition of a Malagasy village chieftain.
June - August The natives of Mboudé on Grande Comoro refuse to pay a head tax. The revolt is crushed by troops from Madagascar and the leaders are exiled.
1916February 10 Saidi Ali bin Saidi Omar, the last reigning Sultan of Grande Comoro, dies at Tamatave on Madgascar.
August 4 Said Houssein, the son of Grande Comoro’s last reigning sultan, volunteers for service in the French Foreign Legion.
1923The Spanish Influenza strikes the Comoros.
The post of Chief Administrator for the Comoros seated at Dzaoudzi on Mayotte is created.
1925July 1 The Madagascar Franc issued by the Bank of Madagascar is introduced as the legal tender currency of the Comoros.
1926The first native Comorian doctor, Said Mohamed Sheik, graduates from the School of Medicine at Tananarive.
1938La Société Anonyme de la Grande Comore absorbs La Société Coloniale de Bambao.
1939There are 10 primary schools in the islands but only five secondary school students who travel to Madagascar to continue their education.
October 25 Great War veteran Said Houssein, the son of Grande Comoro’s last reigning sultan, returns to the ranks.
1940Laborers conscripted for work in the field on Anjouan stage a short lived rebellion.
June The French administration in the Comoros remains loyal to Vichy.
1942July 2 British troops seize Mayotte where they construct a seaplane base.
September 25 British troops occupy the Comoros and oust the Vichy administration.
1943May Administration of civil affairs on the Comoros is turned over to the Free French.
1945Said Mohamed Sheik is elected to represent the Comoros in the French Constituent Assembly.
1946May 9 The Comoros are made an overseas territory of France.
October 13 British forces withdraw from the Comoros.
1947The Comoros are granted representation in the French National Assembly.
1950The first secondary school in the Comoros opens at Moroni on Grande Comoro.
1953General de Gaulle visits the Comoros.
1956June 23 The Defferre Law grants a measure of autonomy to the Comoros and creates a Council of Government at Dzaoudi on Mayotte and an Assembly sitting at Moroni on Grande Comoro.
1958September 28 The Comoros approve a referendum on the Constitution of the Fifth Republic and the French Community.
1961December 22 The Comoros are granted full internal autonomy. France retains control of the islands’ foreign relations, defense and judicial system.
1973January 15 A Franco-Comoran accord to grant the islands independence within 5 years subject to a plebiscite is signed in Paris.
1975July 6 The Comoros Assembly declares unilateral independence.
December 31 France recognizes the independence of Grand Comoro, Anjouan and Moheli where a majority of the inhabitants are Moslem.
1976February Mayotte’s Catholic majority votes to remain a French overseas department.

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