General issues: Grand Comore, French protectorate 1897-1907, French overseas territory 1946-1961, French overseas territory, self government 1961-1975, Republic 1975-1978, Federal Islamic republic 1978-2002, Federal Union 2002-Present
Country name on general issues: Grande Comore, Comores, Etat Comorien
Currency: 1 Franc = 100 Centimes 1897-1907, 1 (CFA) Franc = 100 Centimes 1946-1960, 1 (Comoros) Franc = 100 Centimes 1960-Present
Population: 140 000 in 1946, 798 000 in 2010
Political history Comoros
The Comoros are a group of islands located between the east African mainland and Madagascar. The main islands are: N’gazidjaAlso known as Grande Comore, NdzuwaniAlso known as Anjouan., MwaliAlso known as Mohéli. and MayotteAlso known as Maori.. In the 19th century the islands are at times independent sultanates or dependencies of one-another or of Madagascar. The French start asserting themselves in the region in the first part of the 19th century, and in 1841 Mayotte becomes a French colony. The other islands become French protectorates in 1886 – from 1886 administered from Mayotte, from 1908 from Madagascar. In 1912, the protectorates are annexed by France and subsequently made part of the colony of Madagascar.
During WWII, the colonial administration on the Comoros is loyal to the Vichy regime in France that collaborates with Germany. The Comoros are, therefore, occupied by the British in 1942. The administration of the islands is transferred to the Free French led by Charles de Gaulle. British forces will be stationed on the islands until 1946.
With the reorganization of the French colonial empire in 1946, the Comoros are detached from Madagascar to become a separate French overseas territory. The Comoros gain self government in 1961 as the state of the Comoros and independence in 1975 as the republic of the Comoros. In 1978, the Comoros become a federal Islamic republic.
Just prior to the independence of the Comoros, a referendum is held in Mayotte through which it is decided that Mayottte will stay part of France. Mayotte in 1976 becomes a French overseas territory, currently it is a French overseas department. The Comoros oppose the association of Mayotte with France. The issue is, in the 1970’s, discussed in the United Nations. A motion pleading for association with the Comoros is vetoed by France. The Comoros still claim Mayotte to this day.
In 1997, Mwali and Ndzuwani unilaterally proclaim independence. Mwali rejoins the Comoros in 1998. When the constitution of the Comoros is changed in 2002, so that the Comoros become a federal republic with increased self government for the islands, Ndzuwani also rejoins the Comoros. Independence is declared by Nduwani for a second time in 2007. This time a military intervention of the Comoros, backed by the African Union, prevents the ambitions of Ndzuwani to become reality.
Aside from Mayotte, the Comoros claim the Glorioso Islands – a group of islands that has been French from 1897 and at the time was governed from Mayotte. The Glorioso Islands are currently part of the French Southern & Antarctic Lands.
Economically the Comoros rank among the worlds poorest countries.
Postal history Comoros
The first stamps to be used on the islands are the general issues for the French colonies that are used on Mayotte from the mid 19th century. Anjouan, Grande Comore and Mayotte each issue stamps from 1892 until 1907. These are all of the general design for the French colonies, inscribed with the names of the islands. Stamps of Anjouan are used on Mohéli until 1906 when Mohéli issues a set of stamps of the same design. The stamps of the islands are superseded by the issues of Madagascar from 1912. The remaining stock is overprinted with new face values and reissued for general use on the Comoros and Madagascar.
After the Comoros have been detached from Madagascar in 1946, the Comoros issue stamps from 1950 as a French overseas territory. These to be superseded by the issues of the republic of the Comoros and its political successors.
During the period of unilateral independence of Ndzuwani from 1997 to 2002, it would appear that no postal services have existed on the island.