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Mayotte, History

Dzaoudzi, Organization of African Unity, departements, island of Madagascar, Sakalava

Mayotte was invaded in the 19th century by the Sakalava from the island of Madagascar. The island came under the rule of a Malagasy chief, Andriansouli, and in 1843 he ceded Dzaoudzi to the French, who were looking for a naval base in the western Indian Ocean. The island was then dominated by Creole planters from Reunion, whose descendants continue to exert some political influence. Mayotte and the other three islands of the Comoros were made a colony of France in 1912, and Dzaoudzi remained the capital of the archipelago until it was replaced by Moroni in 1962. By this time, the separatist Mouvement Populaire Mahorais was pressing for full incorporation with France, and they won a narrow victory in the referendum of 1974. When the other islands declared independence in 1975, France retained control of Mayotte, which has become an important base for French influence in the region. The status of the island has remained undecided, since France refuses to designate Mayotte as one of the departements, or administrative districts, of France and has postponed many times any referendum on the territory's future. The United Nations and the Organization of African Unity, however, have recognized Mayotte as part of the country of Comoros.

Article key phrases:

Dzaoudzi, Organization of African Unity, departements, island of Madagascar, Sakalava, western Indian Ocean, administrative districts, Moroni, archipelago, descendants, referendum, naval base, political influence, United Nations, independence, Reunion, islands, incorporation, rule, capital, century, status, region, times


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