The Comoros the Union of the Comoros, is an island country in the Indian Ocean located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of Africa between northeastern Mozambique, the French region of Mayotte, northwestern Madagascar. The capital and largest city in Comoros is Moroni; the religion of the majority of the population is Sunni Islam. At 1,660 km2, excluding the contested island of Mayotte, the Comoros is the fourth-smallest African nation by area; the population, excluding Mayotte, is estimated at 795,601. As a nation formed at a crossroads of different civilisations, the archipelago is noted for its diverse culture and history; the archipelago was first inhabited by Bantu speakers who came from East Africa, supplemented by Arab and Austronesian immigration. The sovereign state is an archipelago consisting of three major islands and numerous smaller islands, all in the volcanic Comoro Islands; the major islands are known by their French names: northwestern-most Grande Comore, Mohéli, Anjouan.
In addition, the country has a claim on a fourth major island, southeastern-most Mayotte, though Mayotte voted against independence from France in 1974, has never been administered by an independent Comoros government, continues to be administered by France. France has vetoed United Nations Security Council resolutions that would affirm Comorian sovereignty over the island. In addition, Mayotte became an overseas department and a region of France in 2011 following a referendum passed overwhelmingly, it became part of the French colonial empire in the end of 19th century before becoming independent in 1975. Since declaring independence, the country has experienced more than 20 coups d'état or attempted coups, with various heads of state assassinated. Along with this constant political instability, the population of the Comoros lives with the worst income inequality of any nation, with a Gini coefficient over 60%, while ranking in the worst quartile on the Human Development Index; as of 2008 about half the population lived below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.
The French insular region of Mayotte, the more prosperous territory in the Mozambique Channel, is the major destination for Comorian illegal migrants who flee their country. The Comoros is a member state of the African Union, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Arab League and the Indian Ocean Commission. Other countries near the Comoros are the Seychelles to the northeast, its capital is Moroni, on Grande Comore. The Union of the Comoros has three official languages—Comorian and French; the name "Comoros" derives from the Arabic word قمر qamar. The first human inhabitants of the Comoro Islands are thought to have been Austronesian settlers travelling by boat from islands in Southeast Asia; these people arrived no than the sixth century AD, the date of the earliest known archaeological site, found on Nzwani, although settlement beginning as early as the first century has been postulated. The islands of the Comoros were populated by a succession of peoples from the coast of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf, the Malay Archipelago, Madagascar.
Bantu-speaking settlers reached the islands as a part of the greater Bantu expansion that took place in Africa throughout the first millennium. According to pre-Islamic mythology, a jinni dropped a jewel; this became the Karthala volcano. Development of the Comoros is divided into phases; the earliest reliably recorded phase is the Dembeni phase, during which each island maintained a single, central village. From the eleventh to the fifteenth centuries, trade with the island of Madagascar and merchants from the Middle East flourished, smaller villages emerged, existing towns expanded. Many Comorians can trace their genealogies to ancestors from Yemen Hadhramaut, Oman. According to legend, in 632, upon hearing of Islam, islanders are said to have dispatched an emissary, Mtswa-Mwindza, to Mecca—but by the time he arrived there, the Prophet Muhammad had died. Nonetheless, after a stay in Mecca, he returned to Ngazidja and led the gradual conversion of his islanders to Islam. Among the earliest accounts of East Africa, the works of Al-Masudi describe early Islamic trade routes, how the coast and islands were visited by Muslims including Persian and Arab merchants and sailors in search of coral, ivory, tortoiseshell and slaves.
They brought Islam to the people of the Zanj including the Comoros. As the importance of the Comoros grew along the East African coast, both small and large mosques were constructed. Despite its distance from the coast, the Comoros is situated along the Swahili Coast in East Africa, it was a major hub of trade and an important location in a network of trading towns that included Kilwa, in present-day Tanzania, Sofala, in Mozambique, Mombasa in Kenya. After the arrival of the Portuguese in the early 15th century and subsequent collapse of the East African sultanates, the powerful Omani Sultan Saif bin Sultan began to defeat the Dutch and the Portuguese, his successor Said bin Sultan increased Omani Arab influence in the region, moving his administration to nearby Zanzibar, which came under Omani r
Administrative divisions of France
The administrative divisions of France are concerned with the institutional and territorial organization of French territory. These territories are located in many parts of the world. There are many administrative divisions, which may have political, electoral, or administrative objectives. All the inhabited territories are represented in the National Assembly and Economic and Social Council and their citizens have French citizenship; the French republic is divided into 18 regions: 12 in 6 elsewhere. They are traditionally divided between the Metropolitan regions, located on the European continent, the Overseas regions, located outside the European continent. Both form the most integrated part of the French Republic; as of 1 January 2016, metropolitan France is divided into the following: 13 regions, including Corsica. The regions are subdivided into 96 departments; the departments are subdivided into 322 arrondissements. The arrondissements are subdivided into 1,995 cantons; the cantons are subdivided into 36,529 communes.
Three urban communes are further divided into municipal arrondissements. There are 20 arrondissements of Paris, 16 arrondissements of Marseille, 9 arrondissements of Lyon; the city of Marseille is divided into 8 municipal sectors. Each sector is composed of two arrondissements. There are 710 associated communes independent communes which were merged with larger communes but have retained some limited degree of autonomy. Furthermore, as of January 2009, there exist 2,585 intercommunal structures grouping 34,077 communes, with 87.4% of the population of metropolitan France living in them. These intercommunal structures are: 16 Urban communities 167 Agglomeration communities 2,397 Commune communities 5 Syndicates of New Agglomeration, a category being phased out Five Overseas Regions, which have the same status as metropolitan regions; the Overseas Regions are following: Martinique Guadeloupe French Guiana Réunion MayotteEach overseas region is coextensive with an overseas department, again with the same status as departments in metropolitan France.
The first four overseas departments were created in 1946 and preceded the four overseas regions, Mayotte became a DOM in 2011. The dual structure overseas region/overseas department, with two separate assemblies administering the same territory, results from the extension of the regional scheme to the overseas departments in the 1970s; each overseas region/department may transform into a single structure, with the merger of the regional and departmental assemblies, but voters in Martinique and Guadeloupe rejected this in two referendums in 2003. In Réunion the creation of a second department for the southern part of the island has been debated for some time; the overseas departments are subdivided into 12 arrondissements. The 12 arrondissements are further subdivided into 153 cantons with Mayotte having another 19 cantons The 172 cantons are composed of 129 communes. Furthermore, as of 1 January 2009, there exist 16 intercommunal structures in the overseas departments, grouping 89 communes, with 83.2% of the population of the overseas departments living in them intercommunal structures.
These intercommunal structures are: 7 Agglomeration communities 9 Commune communities The French Republic includes five overseas collectivities with a semi-autonomous status: Saint-Martin Saint-Barthélemy Saint-Pierre and Miquelon French Polynesia Wallis and FutunaSaint-Martin is a new overseas collectivity created on 22 February 2007. It was previously a commune inside the Guadeloupe department; the commune structure was abolished and Saint-Martin is now one of only three permanently inhabited territories of the French Republic with no commune structure. There are no cantons or arrondissements. Saint-Barthélemy is a new overseas collectivity created on 22 February 2007, it was a commune inside the Guadeloupe department. The commune structure was abolished and Saint-Barthélemy is now one of only three permanently inhabited territories of the French Republic with no commune structure. There are no arrondissements either. Saint-Pierre and Miquelon is divided into 2 communes with no cantons. French Polynesia (designate
A weather station is a facility, either on land or sea, with instruments and equipment for measuring atmospheric conditions to provide information for weather forecasts and to study the weather and climate. The measurements taken include temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind speed, wind direction, precipitation amounts. Wind measurements are taken with as few other obstructions as possible, while temperature and humidity measurements are kept free from direct solar radiation, or insolation. Manual observations are taken at least once daily, while automated measurements are taken at least once an hour. Weather conditions out at sea are taken by ships and buoys, which measure different meteorological quantities such as sea surface temperature, wave height, wave period. Drifting weather buoys outnumber their moored versions by a significant amount. Typical weather stations have the following instruments: Thermometer for measuring air and sea surface temperature Barometer for measuring atmospheric pressure Hygrometer for measuring humidity Anemometer for measuring wind speed Pyranometer for measuring solar radiation Rain gauge for measuring liquid precipitation over a set period of time.
In addition, at certain automated airport weather stations, additional instruments may be employed, including: Present Weather/Precipitation Identification Sensor for identifying falling precipitation Disdrometer for measuring drop size distribution Transmissometer for measuring visibility Ceilometer for measuring cloud ceilingMore sophisticated stations may measure the ultraviolet index, leaf wetness, soil moisture, soil temperature, water temperature in ponds, creeks, or rivers, other data. Except for those instruments requiring direct exposure to the elements, the instruments should be sheltered in a vented box a Stevenson screen, to keep direct sunlight off the thermometer and wind off the hygrometer; the instrumentation may be specialized to allow for periodic recording otherwise significant manual labour is required for record keeping. Automatic transmission of data, in a format such as METAR, is desirable as many weather station's data is required for weather forecasting. A personal weather station is a set of weather measuring instruments operated by a private individual, association, or business.
Personal weather stations have become more advanced and can include many different sensors to measure weather conditions. These sensors can vary between models but most measure wind speed, wind direction and indoor temperatures and indoor humidity, barometric pressure, UV or solar radiation. Other available sensors can measure soil moisture, soil temperature, leaf wetness; the quality, number of instruments, placement of personal weather stations can vary making the determination of which stations collect accurate and comparable data difficult. There are a comprehensive number of retail weather stations available. Personal weather stations involve a digital console that provides readouts of the data being collected; these consoles may interface to a personal computer where data can be displayed and uploaded to websites or data ingestion/distribution systems. Open-source weather stations are available that are designed to be customizable by users. Personal weather stations may be operated for the enjoyment and education of the owner, while some owners share their results with others.
They do this by manually compiling data and distributing it, distributing data over the Internet, or sharing data via amateur radio. The Citizen Weather Observer Program is a service which facilitates the sharing of information from personal weather stations; this data is submitted through use of software, a personal computer, internet connection and are utilized by groups such as the National Weather Service when generating forecast models. Each weather station submitting data to CWOP will have an individual Web page that depicts the data submitted by that station; the Weather Underground Internet site is another popular destination for the submittal and sharing of data with others around the world. As with CWOP, each station submitting data to Weather Underground has a unique Web page displaying their submitted data; the UK Met Office's Weather Observations Website allows such data to be shared and displayed. Home weather stations include hygrometers, thermometers and barometers. Wall mounted and made by manufacturers such as Airguide, Springfield and Stormoguide.
A weather ship was a ship stationed in the ocean as a platform for surface and upper air meteorological measurements for use in weather forecasting. It was meant to aid in search and rescue operations and to support transatlantic flights; the establishment of weather ships proved to be so useful during World War II that the International Civil Aviation Organization established a global network of 13 weather ships in 1948. Of the 12 left in operation in 1996, nine were located in the northern Atlantic ocean while three were located in the northern Pacific ocean; the agreement of the weather ships ended in 1990. Weather ship observations proved to be helpful in wind and wave studies, as they did not avoid weather systems like merchant ships tended to and were considered a valuable resource; the last weather ship was MS Polarfront, known as weather station M at 66°N, 02°E, run by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. MS Polarfront was removed from service January 1, 2010. Since the 1960s this role has been superseded by satellites, long range aircraft
A nature reserve is a protected area of importance for flora, fauna or features of geological or other special interest, reserved and managed for conservation and to provide special opportunities for study or research. Nature reserves may be designated by government institutions in some countries, or by private landowners, such as charities and research institutions, regardless of nationality. Nature reserves fall into different IUCN categories depending on the level of protection afforded by local laws, it is more protected than a nature park. Cultural practices that equate to the establishment and maintenance of reserved areas for animals date back to antiquity, with King Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura establishing one of the world's earliest wildlife sanctuaries in the 3rd century BC. Early reservations had a religious underpinning, such as the'evil forest' areas of West Africa which were forbidden to humans, who were threatened with spiritual attack if they went there. Sacred areas taboo from human entry to fishing and hunting are known by many ancient cultures worldwide.
The world's first modern nature reserve was established in 1821 by the naturalist and explorer Charles Waterton around his estate in Walton Hall, West Yorkshire. He spent £9000 on the construction of a 3 mile long, 9 ft tall wall to enclose his park from poachers, he tried to encourage birdlife by hollowing out trunks for owls to nest in. He invented artificial nest boxes to house starlings and sand martins and unsuccessfully attempted to introduce little owls from Italy. Waterton allowed local people access to his reserve and was described by David Attenborough as “one of the first people anywhere to recognise not only that the natural world was of great importance but that it needed protection as humanity made more and more demands on it”. Drachenfels was protected as the first state-designated nature reserve in modern-day Germany; the first major nature reserve was Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, United States, followed by the Royal National Park near Sydney and the Barguzin Nature Reserve of Imperial Russia, the first of zapovedniks set up by a federal government for the scientific study of nature.
In Australia, a nature reserve is the title of a type of protected area used in the jurisdictions of the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Western Australia. The term “nature reserve” is defined in the relevant statutes used in those states and territories rather than by a single national statute; as of 2016, 1767 out of a total of 11044 protected areas listed within the Australian National Reserve System used the term “nature reserve" in their names. In Brazil, nature reserves are classified as ecological stations estações ecológicas) or biological reserves by the National System of Conservation Units, their main objectives are preserving fauna and flora and other natural attributes, excluding direct human interference. Visits are allowed only with permission, only for educational or scientific purposes. Changes to the ecosystems in both types of reserve are allowed to restore and preserve the natural balance, biological diversity and natural ecological processes. Ecological stations are allowed to change the environment within defined limits for the purpose of scientific research.
A wildlife reserve in Brazil is protected, hunting is not allowed, but products and by-products from research may be sold. There are 30 nature reserves in Egypt; those nature reserves were built according to the laws no. 102/1983 and 4/1994 for protection of the Egyptian nature reserve. Egypt announced a plan from to build 40 nature reserves from 1997 to 2017, to help protect the natural resources and the culture and history of those areas; the largest nature reserve in Egypt is Gebel Elba in the southeast, on the Red Sea coast. Denmark has three national parks and several nature reserves, some of them inside the national park areas; the largest single reserve is Hanstholm Nature Reserve, which covers 40 km2 and is part of Thy National Park. In Sweden, there are 29 national parks; the first of them was established in 1909. In fact, Sweden was the first European country. There are 4,000 nature reserves in Sweden, they comprise about 85% of the surface, protected by the Swedish Environmental Code. In Estonia, there are 5 national parks, more than 100 nature reserves, around 130 landscape protection areas.
The largest nature reserve in Estonia is Alam-Pedja Nature Reserve, which covers 342 km2. As of 2017, France counts 10 national parks, around 8 marine parks. In 1995 Germany had 5,314 nature reserves covering 6,845 km2, the largest total areas being in Bavaria with 1,416 km2 and Lower Saxony with 1,275 km2. In Hungary, there are 10 National Parks, more than 15 nature reserves and more than 250 protected areas. Hortobágy National Park is the largest continuous natural grassland in Europe and the oldest national park in Hungary, it is situated on the plain of the Alföld. It was established in 1972. There are alkaline grasslands interrupted by marshes, they have a sizable importance. One of the most spectacular sights of the park is the autumn mi
Tromelin Island is a low, island in the Indian Ocean about 500 kilometres north of Réunion, about 450 kilometres east of Madagascar. Tromelin is administered as part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, a French overseas territory. France and Mauritius have been negotiating for years in regard to the possible establishment of a condominium over the island. Tromelin has facilities for a weather station, it is a nesting site for green sea turtles. The island is named for the chevalier Bernard Boudin de Tromelin, the captain of the French warship La Dauphine, he arrived at the island on 29 November 1776, rescued eight stranded enslaved Malagasy people, on the island for 15 years. As Tromelin is only 7 metres high, studies could not determine if it is the summit of a volcano or an atoll. Tromelin is about 1,700 metres long and 700 metres wide, with an area of 80 ha, covered in scrub dominated by octopus bush and surrounded by coral reefs. There are no harbours or anchorages, so that access by sea is quite difficult.
A 1,200-metre airstrip provides a link with the outside world. Flora is poorly developed due to weather conditions and lack of fresh water. With the exception of two or three months in summer, this flat island is swept day and night by heavy winds that are sustained in winter. In summer, it can suffer the onslaught of tropical storms. There is only brush present on the island. Veloutaries and purslane, with growth shaped by a dominant east winds are present everywhere on the island; the fauna consists of hermit crabs and sea turtles for which the island is an important nesting place. The green turtle known as the freshwater turtle, is encountered and, to a lesser extent, the tortoiseshell turtle, better known as the caret; the waters are rich with fish. The French Coral Reef Initiative has identified 26 species of corals. Allochthonous species were introduced on the island during the various shipwrecks: rats and rabbits; the latter were decimated in 1986 by cyclone Erinesta. The island has been identified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International because of its significance as a seabird breeding site.
Both masked and red-footed boobies nesting there. Sulidae populations have declined in the western Indian Ocean with those on Tromelin among the healthiest remaining; the island's masked boobies are of the western Indian Ocean subspecies, of which Tromelin is a stronghold. The red-footed boobies constitute the only polymorphic population in the region, indicating its biogeographical isolation. Both great and lesser frigatebirds used to nest on the island; the breeding populations of both birds have since been extirpated, although they continue to use the island for roosting. There are no resident landbirds; the island was discovered by France in 1720s. It was recorded by the French navigator Jean Marie Briand de la Feuillée and named "Île des Sables". In 1761 the French ship L'Utile, a frigate of the French East India Company, chartered by Jean-Joseph de Laborde and commanded by Captain Jean de La Fargue, transporting slaves from Madagascar to Mauritius in contravention of Mauritian law, ran onto the reefs of the island.
The ship had departed Bayonne in France with 142 men. After a stopover on the Isle de France, the ship embarked 160 Malagasy men and children at Foulpointe, on the east coast of Madagascar, to bring them into slavery on Mauritius, despite the prohibition of trafficking decreed by the governor. A navigation error, due to the use of two conflicting charts, caused the vessel to wreck on the reefs of Tromelin Island; the ship was a frigate, not a slave ship, thus was not equipped with the shackles and chains found on slave ships. After the wreck, the crew and about 60 Malagasy people managed to reach the island, but the rest of the slaves, locked in the hold, drowned; the crew retrieved various equipment and wood from the wreckage. They dug a well, providing drinking water, fed on salvaged food and seabirds. Captain Jean de Lafargue, having lost his mind as a result of the wreck, was replaced by his first lieutenant, second-in-command, Barthelemy Castellan du Vernet who lost his brother Leon in the shipwreck.
Castellan built two camps, one for the crew and one for the slaves, a forge and an oven, with the materials recovered from the wreckage, began construction of a boat. On 27 September 1761, a contingent of 122 French sailors left Tromelin aboard the Providence, they left the surviving slaves—60 Malagasy men and women—on the desert island, promising to return and rescue them. The sailors reached Madagascar in just over four days and, after a stopover in Foulpointe, where men died of tropical diseases, were transferred to Bourbon Island, to the Isle de France; when the crew of the ship reached Mauritius, they requested that colonial authorities send a ship to rescue the Malagasy slaves on the island. However, they met with a categorical refusal from the governor, with the justification that France was fighting the Seven Years' War and thus no ship could be spared, the island of Mauritius being itself under threat of attack from British India. Castellan left the Isle de France to
New Caledonia is a special collectivity of France in the southwest Pacific Ocean, located to the south of Vanuatu, about 1,210 km east of Australia and 20,000 km from Metropolitan France. The archipelago, part of the Melanesia subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Chesterfield Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of Pines, a few remote islets; the Chesterfield Islands are in the Coral Sea. Locals refer to Grande Terre as Le Caillou. New Caledonia has a land area of 18,576 km2, its population of 268,767 consists of a mix of Kanak people, people of European descent, Polynesian people, Southeast Asian people, as well as a few people of Pied-Noir and North African descent. The capital of the territory is Nouméa; the earliest traces of human presence in New Caledonia date back to the Lapita period c. 1600 BC to c. 500 AD. The Lapita were skilled navigators and agriculturists with influence over a large area of the Pacific. British explorer Captain James Cook was the first European to sight New Caledonia, on 4 September 1774, during his second voyage.
He named it "New Caledonia". The west coast of Grande Terre was approached by the Comte de Lapérouse in 1788, shortly before his disappearance, the Loyalty Islands were first visited between 1793 and 1796 when Mare, Lifou and Ouvea were mapped by William Raven; the English whaler encountered the island named Britania, today known as Maré, in November 1793. From 1796 until 1840, only a few sporadic contacts with the archipelago were recorded. About fifty American whalers have been recorded in the region between 1793 and 1887. Contacts became more frequent because of the interest in sandalwood; as trade in sandalwood declined, it was replaced by a new business enterprise, "blackbirding", a euphemism for taking Melanesian or Western Pacific Islanders from New Caledonia, the Loyalty Islands, New Hebrides, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands into indentured or forced labour in the sugar cane plantations in Fiji and Queensland by various methods of trickery and deception. Blackbirding was practiced by both French and British-Australian traders, but in New Caledonia's case, the trade in the early decades of the twentieth century involved relocating children from the Loyalty Islands to the Grand Terre for labour in plantation agriculture.
New Caledonia's primary experience with blackbirding revolved around a trade from the New Hebrides to the Grand Terre for labour in plantation agriculture, mines, as well as guards over convicts and in some public works. The historian Dorothy Shineberg's milestone study, The People Trade, discusses this'migration'. In the early years of the trade, coercion was used to lure Melanesian islanders onto ships. In years indenture systems were developed; this represented a departure from the British experience, since increased regulations were developed to mitigate the abuses of blackbirding and'recruitment' strategies on the coastlines. The first missionaries from the London Missionary Society and the Marist Brothers arrived in the 1840s. In 1849, the crew of the American ship Cutter was eaten by the Pouma clan. Cannibalism was widespread throughout New Caledonia. On 24 September 1853, under orders from Emperor Napoleon III, Admiral Febvrier Despointes took formal possession of New Caledonia. Captain Louis-Marie-François Tardy de Montravel founded Port-de-France on 25 June 1854.
A few dozen free settlers settled on the west coast in the following years. New Caledonia became a penal colony in 1864, from the 1860s until the end of the transportations in 1897, France sent about 22,000 criminals and political prisoners to New Caledonia; the Bulletin de la Société générale des prisons for 1888 indicates that 10,428 convicts, including 2,329 freed ones, were on the island as of 1 May 1888, by far the largest number of convicts detained in French overseas penitentiaries. The convicts included many Communards, arrested after the failed Paris Commune of 1871, including Henri de Rochefort and Louise Michel. Between 1873 and 1876, 4,200 political prisoners were "relegated" to New Caledonia. Only 40 of them settled in the colony. In 1864 nickel was discovered on the banks of the Diahot River. To work the mines the French imported labourers from neighbouring islands and from the New Hebrides, from Japan, the Dutch East Indies, French Indochina; the French government attempted to encourage European immigration, without much success.
The indigenous population or Kanak people were excluded from the French economy and from mining work, confined to reservations. This sparked a violent reaction in 1878, when High Chief Atal of La Foa managed to unite many of the central tribes and launched a guerrilla war that killed 200 Frenchmen and 1,000 Kanaks. A second guerrilla war took place in 1917, with Catholic missionaries like Maurice Leenhardt functioning as witnesses to the events of this war. Leenhardt would pen a number of ethnographic works on the Kanak of New Caledonia. Noel of Tiamou led the 1917 rebellion, which resulted in a number of orphaned children, one of whom was taken into th