Mayotte, an overseas department of France

Mayotte

A region and simultaneously an overseas department of France (since March 31, 2011) located in the Strait of Mozambique, in the western Indian Ocean, between northern Mozambique and northern Madagascar.

It consists of the main island, Grande Terre (or Maoré), a smaller island, Petit Terre (or Pamanzi), and several other tiny islets. Geographically it belongs to the Comoros Islands.

The main island is Grande Terre (or Maoré), geologically the oldest in the Comoros, is 39 km long and 22 km wide, the highest point is Mount Benard (660 m). Because of the volcanic origin in some areas the soil is quite fertile. The coral reef surrounding most of the island provides it with fish and protects local ships.

The town of Dzaoudzi, on Petit Terre, was the capital of the Comoros until 1968. Mayotte is a separate member of the Indian Ocean Commission, separate from the Comoros.

History of the settlement

Around 1500, the Arabs who settled in the Comoros founded the sultanate of Maore or Mauti (later interpreted by the French as Mayotte).

In 1503 Portuguese explorers landed on Mayotte but never established a colony there.

In 1832 the islands were conquered by the King of Madagascar, in 1833 conquered by the neighboring Sultanate of Mwali; November 19, 1835 came under the control of the Ndzuwani Sultanate, but in 1836, led by the last local sultan, again gained independence.

Mayotte became a French protectorate in 1843, much earlier than the rest of the Comoros (in 1886-92).

Since 1909, the Comoros became a colony of France (from 1912 – as part of the colony of Madagascar).

In 1946, the Comoros, separated from Madagascar, received the status of an overseas territory of France.

In 1961, a chamber of deputies (local parliament) and a government council (local government) formed from local residents were created. Local parties were formed. The Mahoré People’s Movement was active in Mayotte in 1962 and demanded the island’s status as an overseas department of France.

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Since 1968, only Comoros’ finances, defense, and foreign affairs remained under French authority.

In 1976, after the Comoros gained independence, France vetoed a UN resolution granting Mayotte independence, arguing that the island had held a referendum. During the referendum, local residents opposed independence from France (more than 60% of those who voted). The results of the referendum were partly related to the fears of the inhabitants of Mayotte, especially local Christians, that the island would become part of an Islamic state, the proclamation of which was expected in the Comoros (held in October 1978).

On March 29, 2009, the inhabitants of the island of Mayotte voted by a majority in a referendum to make the island a department of France. “For” voted 95.2% of voters out of 61% of the inhabitants of Mayotte, who participated in the voting.

Finally, the status of the Mayotte department received on March 31, 2011 and, thus, became the 101st department of France.

“Departmentalization” includes the merging of social and tax systems, the creation of a land cadastre, the revision and amendment of the Civil Code of Mayotte. According to the estimates of the Secretary of State for Overseas Territories Yves Jego, the full integration will take 20-25 years and will cost 200 million euros. Becoming an overseas department of France will entail fundamental changes in the way of life of the islanders. They would have to abandon polygamy, in addition, the powers of Muslim judges, or “cadis” would be significantly reduced.

The Union of Comoros authorities were wary of the Mayotte referendum, which effectively deprived them of the opportunity to create a unified state of all the Comoros. They accused France of pursuing a colonial policy. The Comoros is now claiming rights to Mayotte.

Demographics

Population – 231 thousand (July 2010 estimate).

Population density – 600 people/km²;

Annual growth rate – 3.2% (8th place in the world);

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Fertility rate – 38.8 per 1000 (fertility rate – 5.4 births per woman);

Mortality – 7.1 per 1,000;

Life expectancy: 61 years for men and 66 years for women.

Ethnic composition – Mahora (descendants of Arabs mixed with Malagasy and Negroes).

Languages – Mahor (a dialect of Swahili), French (official) is spoken by about 35% of the population.

Mayotte

Mayotte (French: Mayotte) is a region and overseas department (département d’outre-mer, or DOM) of France (since 31 March 2011), located in the Strait of Mozambique in the western part of the Indian Ocean, between northern Mozambique and northern Madagascar.

It consists of the main island, Grande Terre (or Maoré), a smaller island, Petit Terre (or Pamanzi), and several other tiny islets. Geographically, it belongs to the Comoro Islands.

Area: 374 km² with a population of 231,000 (2010).

Table of contents

Geography

The main island is Grande Terre (or Maures), geologically the oldest in the Comoros, is 39 km long and 22 km wide, with its highest point, Mount Bénara (fr. Mont Bénara, 660 m). Because of the volcanic origin in some areas the soil is quite fertile. The coral reef, which surrounds much of the island, provides it with fish and protects the local ships.

The town of Dzaoudzi on Petit Terre was the capital of the Comoros until 1968. Mayotte is a separate member of the Indian Ocean Commission (COI ), separate from the Comoros.

History

Around 1500, the Arabs who settled in the Comoros founded the sultanate of Maore or Mauti (later interpreted by the French as Mayotte).

In 1503 Portuguese explorers landed on Mayotte but never established a colony there.

In 1832 the islands were conquered by the King of Madagascar, in 1833 conquered by the neighboring Sultanate of Mwali; November 19, 1835 came under the control of the Ndzuwani Sultanate, but in 1836, led by the last local sultan, again gained independence.

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Mayotte became a French protectorate in 1843, much earlier than the rest of the Comoros (in 1886-92).

Since 1909, the Comoros became a colony of France (from 1912 – as part of the colony of Madagascar).

In 1946, the Comoros, separated from Madagascar, received the status of an overseas territory of France.

In 1961, a chamber of deputies (local parliament) and a government council (local government) formed from local residents were created. Local parties were formed. The Mahoré People’s Movement was active in Mayotte in 1962 and demanded the island’s status as an overseas department of France.

Since 1968, only Comoros’ finances, defense, and foreign affairs remained under French authority.

In 1976, after the Comoros gained independence, France vetoed a UN resolution granting Mayotte independence, arguing that the island had held a referendum. During the referendum, local residents opposed independence from France (more than 60% of those who voted). The results of the referendum were partly related to the fears of the inhabitants of Mayotte, especially local Christians, that the island would become part of an Islamic state, the proclamation of which was expected in the Comoros (held in October 1978).

On March 29, 2009, the inhabitants of the island of Mayotte voted by a majority in a referendum to make the island a department of France. “For” voted 95.2% of voters out of 61% of the inhabitants of Mayotte, who participated in the voting.

Mayotte finally became a department on March 31, 2011 [1] and thus became the 101st department of France.

“Departmentalization” includes the merging of the social and fiscal systems, the creation of a land cadastre, and the revision and amendment of the civil code of Mayotte. According to estimates by the Secretary of State for Overseas Territories, Yves Jego, the full integration will take 20-25 years and will cost 200 million euros. Becoming an overseas department of France will entail fundamental changes in the way of life of the islanders. They will have to abandon polygamy, in addition, the powers of Muslim judges, or “cadis” will be significantly reduced. [ source not cited 214 days ]

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Union of the Comoros officials were wary of the Mayotte referendum, which effectively denies them the possibility of creating a single state out of all the Comoros. They accused France of pursuing a colonial policy. [ source not shown 214 days ]

Population

Population – 231 thousand (July 2010 estimate).

Population density – 600 people/km²;

Annual growth rate – 3.2% (8th place in the world);

Fertility rate – 38.8 per 1000 (fertility rate – 5.4 births per woman);

Mortality – 7.1 per 1,000;

Life expectancy: 61 years for men and 66 years for women.

Ethnic composition – Mahora (descendants of Arabs mixed with Malagasy and Negroes).

Languages – Mahor (a dialect of Swahili), French (official) is spoken by about 35% of the population.

Religions – Muslims 97%, Christians (mostly Catholics) 3%.

Political structure

Mayotte is governed by a prefect appointed by the president of France.

There is a General Council (19 members, elected by the population every 3 years).

The population of Mayotte elects 1 senator of France and 1 deputy of the French National Assembly.

  • Federation of Mahors – 9 seats in the General Council;
  • Movement for Departmental Status for Mayotte – 6 seats;
  • Renewed Communist Party of Mayotte – 2 seats;
  • Mahorean People’s Movement – 1 seat;

There is also 1 independent leftist on the General Council.

The parties not represented on the General Council are the Socialist Party (local branch of the FSP), the Alliance for Democracy, the Democratic Front, and the Union for French Democracy.

Economy

The information must be verifiable or it may be questioned and deleted. You can edit this article by adding links to authoritative sources. This mark was established on April 23, 2012 .

The main economic activity is in agriculture and fishing. Mayotte is not self-sufficient in food and imports it, as well as manufactured goods, fuel, etc. Exports are very small – mainly flavorings (vanilla and ylang-ylang), copra, coconuts. The development of tourism business is difficult because of the remoteness of the island. The budget of Mayotte is supported by substantial financial subsidies from France. The currency unit is the euro.

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