What are the Comoros ethnic groups

Largest Ethnic Groups In Comoros

The Union of the Comoros is an African island nation in the Indian Ocean. The island lies north of the Mozambique Channel and borders Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania and the Seychelles. The country covers an area of ​​1660 square kilometers and is the third smallest country in Africa. Comoros is one of the least populated countries with a population of only 790,000 people, but it is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Half of the population is under the age of 15 while 34% of the population lives in urban areas. There are three major ethnic groups in the country with several ethnic minorities. The largest of these ethnic groups are considered below.

African arab

African Arabs, commonly known as Afro-Arabs, are a group of people or individuals who trace their ancestry back to both African and Arab origins. Most of the African Arabs are along the Swahili coasts in the African Great Lakes region. Some of these ethnic groups are also in other parts of the world, particularly in the Arab world. African Arab is the dominant ethnic group in Comoros, making up 86% of the total population. The island was originally colonized by Africans, but in the 10th century the Arabs came to the island and established their chiefs, who were led by sultans. The Arabs flourished in the slave trade while influencing Africans culturally through Islam. Arab influence on Africans saw the emergence of an Afro-Arab group that has now grown into the largest ethnic group in the country. The Swahili culture characterizes the ethnic group. Arabic has a strong influence on the language. Ritual music such as stambali and gnawa are common ritual music in this community.


The Malagasy are the main ethnic group in Madagascar. However, the Comoros also have significant numbers of people belonging to this ethnic group. Malagasy are divided into two groups, the highlanders and the coastal dwellers. The coastal residents of Madagascar are the majority in Comoros. The first group of Malagasy people, the Austronesian settlers, came from Borneo and settled in the Central Highland region, where they grew rice. They moved in their canoes and established kingdoms on the uninhabited coasts, including the Comoros. The main economic activities of the Malagasy people include hunting, fishing, and agriculture. They also appreciate clothing and hair styling. The majority of Malagasy people practice Christianity as the predominant religion.

Ismaili Indians

Ismaili Indian is a sub-branch of the Shiite Muslims who received the name Ismaili from following the teachings of Imam Ismaili ibn Jafar. They believe in the oneness of God and Muhammad as prophets of God. The group mainly belongs to the Indian community in Comoros and other parts of the world including Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Africa and East Africa. Ismaili Indians believe in the reincarnation of their members in their community. They also believe that numbers have religious meanings, especially the number seven.

Other ethnic minorities in Comoros

Some of the smaller ethnic minorities in the Comoros country are Chinese, French, Dutch, British and Portuguese. These minority groups came into the country in search of slaves during the colonization of Africa. Most of these minority groups have their origins in their countries of origin. The majority of expatriates working in Comoros are from ethnic minorities.

Largest ethnic groups in Comoros

Ethnic groupProportion of the population of Comoros
African arab86%
Malagasy14% in total
Ismaili Indians

Author: Josefina Howell

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