The Comoros (/ (
Arabic: جزر القمر, Juzur al-Qumur / Qamar), officially the Union of the Comoros (
Comorian: Udzima wa Komori,
French: Union des Comores,
Arabic: الاتحاد القمري al-Ittiḥād al-Qumurī / Qamarī), is a
island nation in the
Indian Ocean located at the northern end of the
Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of
Africa between northeastern
Mozambique and northwestern
Madagascar. Other countries near the Comoros are
Tanzania to the northwest and the
Seychelles to the northeast. Its capital is
Grande Comore. The Union of the Comoros has three
official languages –
French. The religion of the majority of the population is Islam.
At 1,660 km2 (640 sq mi), excluding the contested island of
Mayotte, the Comoros is the third-smallest African nation by area. The population, excluding Mayotte, is estimated at 795,601.
 As a nation formed at a crossroads of different civilisations, the archipelago is noted for its diverse culture and history. The archipelago was first inhabited by
Bantu speakers who came from East Africa, supplemented by Arab and Austronesian immigration.
The country consists of three major islands and numerous smaller islands, all in the
Comoro Islands. The major islands are commonly known by their French names: northwestern-most
Grande Comore (Ngazidja);
Mohéli (Mwali); and
Anjouan (Nzwani). In addition, the country has a claim on a fourth major island, southeastern-most Mayotte (Maore), though Mayotte voted against independence from France in 1974, has never been administered by an independent Comoros government, and continues to be administered by
France (currently as an
overseas department). France has
United Nations Security Council
resolutions that would affirm Comorian
sovereignty over the island.
 In addition, Mayotte became an overseas department and a
region of France in 2011 following a referendum passed overwhelmingly.
It became part of the
French colonial empire in the 19th century before becoming independent in 1975. Since declaring
independence, the country has experienced more than 20
coups d'état or attempted coups, with various heads of state assassinated.
 Along with this constant political instability, the population of the Comoros lives with the worst
income inequality of any nation, with a
Gini coefficient over 60%, while also ranking in the
worst quartile on the
Human Development Index. As of 2008 about half the population lived below the
international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.
 The Comoros is a member state of the
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation,
Arab League (of which it is the southernmost state, being the only member state of the Arab League with a
tropical climate and also entirely within the
Southern Hemisphere) and the
Indian Ocean Commission.