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Comoros: A chronology of key events

BBC Monitoring, Wednesday 9 May 2001, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK

1527 - Portuguese cartographer Diego Ribero depicts the Comoros islands on a European map for the first time.

French rule

1886 - Comoros become a French protectorate.

1912 - Comoros formally become a French colony administered from Madagascar.

1942 - British forces invade the Comoros and Madagascar, toppling the pro-Vichy administration and handing the territories over to the Free French government of Charles de Gaulle.

1947 - Comoros become an overseas territory of France and are given representation in the French parliament.

1961 - Comoros given autonomy.


1974 - Three of the islands making up the Comoros vote for independence, but a fourth island, Mayotte, votes to stay with France.

1975 - The islands of Grande Comore, Moheli and Anjouan become independent with Ahmed Abdallah as president.

1976 - Abdallah deposed and replaced by Ali Soilih, who tries to turn the country into a secular, socialist republic.

1978 - Soilih toppled by European mercenaries who restore Abdallah to power.

1989 - Abdallah assassinated by European mercenaries, prompting France to intervene to eject the mercenaries .

1990 - Said Mohamed Djohar elected president.

1995 - Djohar killed in a coup led by the same mercenaries who had assassinated Abdallah in 1989.

Secessionist threat

1996 - Mohamed Abdulkarim Taki elected president and proceeds to draft a constitution which extends the authority of the president and establishes Islam as the basis of law.

1997 August - The islands of Anjouan and Moheli declare independence from the Comoros.

1997 September - Troops from the island of Grande Comore land in Anjouan to try to prevent its secession, but are routed.

1998 - President Taki dies of heart attack and is replaced by an acting president, Tadjidine Ben Said Massounde, pending elections.

1999 April - Massounde signs an autonomy agreement in Madagascar, but the delegates from Anjouan and Moheli refuse to follow suit, saying they must first consult their people, thereby prompting violent demonstrations in Grande Comore against people of Anjouan origins.

1999 April - Massounde ousted in a coup led by the chief of the General Staff, Col Azali Assoumani.

2001 March - Azali Assoumani says the country will return to civilian rule in 2002 after new institutions of government had been set up. He also said he would not stand for election.