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Comoros History Timeline

900 - 1700

  • (933) Omani sailors called the Comoros Islands "The Perfume Islands" due to the scent of the ylang-ylang
  • (1154) Arab geographer depicted Comoros on map, said its sailors sold metal tools for gold and ivory
  • (1400s) Shirazi Arab clans arrived from the Swahili Coast of East Africa, built mosques; introduced architecture, carpentry
  • (1500s) Sultanates of Ndzuwani (Anjouan) and Maore (Mayotte) were founded
  • (1505) Portuguese explorers visited the archipelago
  • (1506) Portuguese began to challenge Bantu Muslim chiefs
  • (1514) Afonso de Albuquerque of Portugal and his forces sacked the islands
  • (1527) Diego Ribero, a Portuguese cartographer, showed Comoros Islands on European map
  • (1600s) Slave trading was most important export commodity
  • (1648) Malagasy pirates raided the islands
  • (1785) The Sakalava of the west coast of Madagascar began slaving raids on Comoros
1800s
  • (1830) Sultanate of Mwali (Moheli) separated from Sultanate of Ndzuwani (Anjouan)
  • (1833) Maore (Mayotte) annexed by Moheli
  • (1835) Maore (Mayotte) was annexed from Moheli by Anjouan
  • (1836) Maore (Mayotte) proclaimed independence from Anjouan
  • (1841) France established a protectorate over Maore, named it Mayotte as a dependency of Ile Bourbon
  • (1866) Anjouan was annexed to Mayotte
  • (1886) Sultanate of Bambao, Said Ali bin Said Omar, united the sultanates of Grand Comore into the state of Ngazidja
  • (1886) Ngazidja (Grand Comoros) became French protectorate
  • (1892) Sultanates in Grand Comore were suppressed by France
  • (1893) Said Ali bin Said Omar sent into exile on Reunion Island
1900s
  • (1912) Comoros were proclaimed as French colonies, became a dependency of Madagascar
  • (1942) British forces invaded Comoros, began occupation
  • (1946) British occupation ended
  • (1946) Comoros became overseas territory of France
  • (1961) Comoros gained autonomy from France, became State of Comoros
  • (1974) Three of the Comoros Islands voted for independence; the fourth island, Mayotte, voted to stay with France
  • (1975) Comoros declared independence, Ahmed Abdallah became president
  • (1975) President Abdallah deposed in armed coup, replaced by Prince Said Mohammed Jaffar
  • (1976) Prince Said Mohammed Jaffar replaced by Minister of Defense Ali Soilih, tried to turn country into secular, socialist republic
  • (1976) Mayotte became a territorial collectivity of France
  • (1977) After loss of French financial subsidies, over 3,500 civil servants were dismissed
  • (1978) Ali Soilih toppled and killed by mercenaries led by French Colonel Bob Denard
  • (1978) Ahmed Abdallah restored to power
  • (1978) New constitution approved, each island granted own legislature and control over taxes on individuals and island businesses, Islam restored as state religion, Abdallah granted six-year term as president
  • (1978) State of Comoros became Federal Islamic Republic of Comoros
  • (1979) Soilih regime members were arrested, four ministers disappeared, about 300 imprisoned without trial
  • (1979) Opposition group United National Front of Comorans formed
  • (1980) Opposition group National Committee for Public Safety formed
  • (1981) Coup attempt led by former official of Soilih regime failed, 40 arrested
  • (1982) Comoros became one-party state; President Abdallah's Comoran Union for Progress was sole political party
  • (1984) President Abdallah elected to a second six-year term after winning more than 99 percent of the vote as the sole candidate
  • (1985) Constitutional amendment pushed by President Abdallah abolished role of prime minister, made president head of state and head of elected government
  • (1989) President Abdallah was assassinated by presidential guard under command of French mercenary, Colonel Bob Denard
  • (1989) Dominique Malacrino and Bob Denard were put on trial for the killing of President Abdallah; Denard was acquitted
  • (1990) Said Mohamed Djohar elected president
  • (1991) Attempts to impeach President Djohar failed
  • (1992) Coup attempt against President Djohar failed
  • (1995) President Djohar was removed from office in coup led by Bob Denard and a group of mercenaries
  • (1995) France denounced coup, ordered forces to retake the island; Denard surrendered
  • (1996) Mohamed Taki Abdoulkarim elected president
  • (1996) President Abdoulkarim drafted constitution extending authority of the president, established Islam as basis of law
  • (1997) Anjouan and Moheli Islands declared independence from the Comoros
  • (1997) Government troops sent to Anjouan, over 300 were killed or captured by the people who demanded to return to French rule
  • (1997) Referendum held in Anjouan Island, voters approved to reunite with France; France refused request
  • (1997) Leaders on Anjouan Island announced independent government
  • (1998) President Abdoulkarim died, replaced by Interim President Tadjidine Ben Said Massounde
  • (1999) President Massounde overthrown in bloodless coup led by Colonel Azali Assoumani, Army Chief of Staff
  • (1999) African Union imposed sanctions on Anjouan to help broker negotiations and reconciliation
  • (1999) Anjouan had internal conflicts; first president Foundi Abdallah Ibrahim resigned, power was transferred to national coordinator, Said Abeid
  • (1999) Official name of country was changed to Union of Comoros, new political autonomy system instituted for each island, union government for all three islands was established

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.