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"MYT" redirects here. For other uses, see MYT (disambiguation).

Department of Mayotte
Flag of Mayotte Coat of arms of Mayotte
Flag of Mayotte Coat of arms
Location of  Mayotte  (circled in red)

in the Indian Ocean  (light yellow)

and largest city
Mamoudzou (prefecture)
Official languages French
Vernacular languages
Ethnic groups (2011[1])
Demonym Mahoran
Government Overseas department
 -  President Soibahadine Ibrahim Ramadani
 -  Prefect Seymour Morsy
 -  Purchased by France 1843 
 -  Referenda on ties with France 1974, 1976, 2009 
 -  Departmental collectivity 2001 
 -  Overseas collectivity 2003 
 -  Overseas department and region 31 March 2011 
 -  Outermost region 1 January 2014 
 -  Total 374 km2 (~185th)
144 sq mi
 -  Water (%) 0.4
 -  Aug. 2012 census 212,645[2] (179th)
 -  Density 569/km2 (~21st)
1,473/sq mi
GDP (nominal) 2009 estimate
 -  Total US$1.91 billion
(€1.37 billion)[3]
 -  Per capita US$9,766
(€7,012[3] 2009 est.)
Currency Euro (EUR)
Time zone (UTC+3)
Calling code +262b
ISO 3166 code YT
Internet TLD .yt
a. Bantu, Arab and Malagasy people.
b. Was +269 before 2007.

Mayotte (French: Mayotte, Template:IPA-fr; Shimaore: Maore, IPA: [maˈore]; Malagasy: Mahori) is an overseas department and region of France.[4] It consists of a main island, Grande-Terre (or Maore), a smaller island, Petite-Terre (or Pamandzi), and several islets around these two. The archipelago is located in the northern Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Southeast Africa, between northwestern Madagascar and northeastern Mozambique.

Mayotte's area is Script error: No such module "convert". and, with its 212,645 people, is very densely populated at 569 per km² (1,473 per sq mi).[2] The biggest city and prefecture is Mamoudzou on Grande-Terre. However, the Dzaoudzi–Pamandzi International Airport is located on the neighbouring Petite-Terre island. The territory is geographically part of the Comoro Islands, but the people of Mayotte chose to remain politically a part of France in the 1974 referendum. The territory is also known as Maore, the native name of its main island, especially by advocates of its inclusion in the Union of Comoros. In a 2009 referendum, the population overwhelmingly approved accession to status of department (95.2% voted in favour of departmental status). Mayotte became an overseas department on 31 March 2011 and became an outermost region of the European Union on 1 January 2014.


Beach scenery in Mayotte.
Main article: Geography of Mayotte

The term Mayotte (or Maore) may refer to the group of islands, of which the largest is known as Maore (French: Grande-Terre), and it includes Maore's surrounding islands, most notably Pamanzi (Petite-Terre), or to the largest island mentioned.

The main island, Grande-Terre (or Maore), geologically the oldest of the Comoro Islands, is Script error: No such module "convert". long and Script error: No such module "convert". wide, and its highest point is Mount Benara, at Script error: No such module "convert". above sea level. Because of the volcanic rock, the soil is relatively rich in some areas. A coral reef encircling much of the island ensures protection for ships and a habitat for fish. Dzaoudzi was the capital of Mayotte (and earlier the capital of all the colonial Comoros) until 1977. It is situated on Petite-Terre (or Pamanzi), which at Script error: No such module "convert". is the largest of several islets adjacent to Maore.


See also: History of the Comoros for the history of Mayotte before 1974.

In 1500, the Maore or Mawuti (contraction of the Arabic جزيرة الموت Jazīrat al-Mawt -meaning island of death and corrupted to Mayotte in French) sultanate was established on the island. In 1503, Mayotte was observed by Portuguese explorers, but not colonized.

In 1832, it was conquered by Andriantsoly, former king of Iboina on Madagascar; in 1833, conquered by the neighboring sultanate of Mwali (Mohéli island in French); on 19 November 1835, again conquered by the Ndzuwani Sultanate (Anjouan sultanate in French); a governor was installed with the unusual Islamic style of Qadi (from the Arabic قاض which means judge, sort of a 'resident magistrate' in British terms), but in 1836, regained its independence under a last local Sultan.

Mayotte was ceded to France in 1841. It was the only island in the archipelago that voted in referendums in 1974 and 1976 to retain its link with France and forgo independence (with 63.8% and 99.4% of votes respectively). The Comoros continue to claim the island. A draft 1976 United Nations Security Council resolution recognizing Comorian sovereignty over Mayotte, supported by 11 of the 15 members of the Council, was vetoed by France.[5] It was the last time, as of 2011, that France cast a lone veto in the Council.[6] The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a series of resolutions on the issues, whose tenor can be gauged from their title: "Question of the Comorian Island of Mayotte" up to 1995. Since 1995, the subject of Mayotte has not been discussed by the General Assembly.

Mayotte became an overseas department of France in March 2011 in consequence of a 29 March 2009 referendum.[7] The outcome was a 95.5 per cent vote in favour of changing the island's status from a French "overseas community" to become France's 101st département.[8] Its non-official traditional Islamic law, applied in some aspects of the day-to-day life, will be gradually abolished and replaced by the uniform French civil code.[9] Additionally, French social welfare and taxes apply in Mayotte, though some of each will be brought in gradually.[10] Comoros continues to claim the island, while criticising the French military base there.[11]


Main article: Politics of Mayotte
File:EU OCT and OMR map en.png
Map of the European Union in the world with overseas countries and territories and outermost regions

The politics of Mayotte takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic French overseas community, whereby the President of the General Council is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government.

Mayotte also sends one deputy to the French National Assembly and two senators to the French Senate.

The situation of Mayotte proved to be awkward for France: while the local population very largely did not want to be independent from France and join the Comoros, some international criticism from post-colonial leftist regimes was heard about Mayotte's ongoing ties to France. Furthermore, the peculiar local administration of Mayotte, largely ruled by customary Muslim law, would be difficult to integrate into the legal structures of France, not to mention the costs of bringing the standards of living to levels close to those of Metropolitan France. For these reasons, the laws passed by the national parliament had to state specifically that they applied to Mayotte for them to be applicable on Mayotte.

The status of Mayotte was changed in 2001 towards one very close to the status of the Departments of France, with the particular designation of departmental collectivity. This change was approved by 73% of voters in a referendum. After the constitutional reform of 2003 it became an overseas collectivity while retaining the title "departmental collectivity" of Mayotte.

Mayotte became an overseas department of France (département d'outre-mer, DOM) on 31 March 2011 following the result of the March 2009 Mahoran status referendum, which was overwhelmingly approved by around 95% of voters.[12][13] Becoming an overseas department will mean it will adopt the same legal and social system as used in the rest of France. This will require abandoning some customary laws, adopting the standard French civil code, and reforming the judiciary, educational, social and fiscal systems, and will take place over a period of about 20 years.[14]

Despite its domestic constitutional evolution from the status of an overseas collectivity to that of an overseas department, effectively becoming a full constituent territory within the French Republic, with regards to the European Union, Mayotte remained an 'Overseas country and territory' (OCT) in association with the Union (as per Article 355(2) TFEU) and not a constituent territory of the European Union in the same way as the other four overseas departments. However following a directive of the European Council in December 2013, Mayotte became an outermost region of the European Union on 1 January 2014.[15] This successful agreement between the 27 member states follows a petition made by the French government for Mayotte to become an integral territory of the European Union nonetheless benefiting from the derogation clause applicable in existing Outermost regions, namely Article 349 TFEU, as favoured in a June 2012 European Commission opinion on Mayotte's European constitutional status.[16]

Administrative divisions

Main article: Communes of Mayotte

Mayotte is divided into 17 communes. There are also 19 cantons (not shown here) each of which corresponds to one of the communes, except for the commune of Mamoudzou which is divided into three cantons. There are no arrondissements.



Main article: Economy of Mayotte

The official currency of Mayotte is the euro.[17]

In 2009, the GDP of Mayotte at market exchange rates was US$1.91 billion (€1.37 billion).[3] In that same year the GDP per capita of Mayotte at market exchange rates, not at PPP, was US$9,766 (€7,012),[3] which was 12 times higher than the GDP per capita of the Comoros that year, but only 38.0% of the GDP per capita of Réunion and 24% of the GDP per capita of Metropolitan France.


1958 1966 1978 1985 1991 1997 2002 2007 2012
23,364 32,607 47,246 67,205 94,410 131,320 160,265 186,452 212,645
Official population figures from past censuses.

As of the August 2012 census, there were 212,645 people living in Mayotte.[2] According to the 2007 census, 63.5% of the people living in Mayotte were born in Mayotte, 4.8% were born in the rest of the French Republic (either metropolitan France or overseas France except Mayotte), 28.3% were immigrants from the Comoros, 2.6% were immigrants from Madagascar, and the remaining 0.8% came from other countries.[18]

A view of Sada including mosque.

The main religion in Mayotte is Islam,[19] with 97% of the population Muslim and 3% Christian.[20] 85,000 of the total 90,000 inhabitants of the island are Comorians. The Comorians are a blend of settlers from many areas: Iranian traders, mainland Africans, Arabs and Malagasy. Comorian communities can also be found in other parts of the Comoros chain as well as in Madagascar.


The native languages of Mayotte are:

Kibushi is spoken in the south and north-west of Mayotte, while Shimaore is spoken elsewhere.

Other non-native languages are also present in Mayotte:

  • French, the language originally imported by the French colonizers
  • various dialects of the Comorian language essentially imported by immigrants who have arrived in Mayotte since 1974: Shindzwani (the dialect of Anjouan, or Nzwani), Shingazidja (the dialect of Grande Comore, or Ngazidja), and Shimwali (the dialect of Mohéli, or Mwali).

Shingazidja and Shimwali on the one hand and Shimaore on the other hand are hardly mutually intelligible. Shindzwani and Shimaore are perfectly mutually intelligible.

2007 census

French is the only official language of Mayotte. It is the language used for administration and the school system. It is the language most used on television and radio as well as in commercial announcements and billboards. In spite of this, knowledge of French in Mayotte is lower than in any other part of France.

At the 2007 census, 63.2% of people 14 years and older reported that they could speak French (although 87.1% of those whose age was 14 to 19 years old reported that they could speak it, whereas only 19.6% of those whose aged 65 and older reported that they could speak it). 93.8% of the population whose age was 14 or older reported that they could speak one of the local languages of Mayotte (Shimaore, Kibushi, Kiantalaotsi, or any of the Comorian dialects, which the census included in the 'local languages'). 6.2% of the population aged 14 and older reported that they spoke none of the local languages and could speak only French.[21]

2006 survey by France's Ministry of National Education

A survey was conducted by the French Ministry of National Education in 2006 among pupils registered in CM2 (equivalent to fifth grade in the US and Year 6 in England and Wales). Questions were asked regarding the languages spoken by the pupils as well as the languages spoken by their parents. According to the survey, the ranking of mother tongues was the following (ranked by number of first language speakers in the total population; note that percentages add up to more than 100% because some people are natively bilingual):[22]

  • Shimaore: 55.1%
  • Shindzwani: 22.3%
  • Kibushi: 13.6%
  • Shingazidja: 7.9%
  • French: 1.4%
  • Shimwali: 0.8%
  • Arabic: 0.4%
  • Kiantalaotsi: 0.2%
  • Other: 0.4%

When also counting second language speakers (e.g. someone whose mother tongue is Shimaore but who also speaks French as a second language) then the ranking became:

  • Shimaore: 88.3%
  • French: 56.9%
  • Shindzwani: 35.2%
  • Kibushi: 28.8%
  • Shingazidja: 13.9%
  • Arabic: 10.8%
  • Shimwali: 2.6%
  • Kiantalaotsi: 0.9%
  • Other: 1.2%

With the mandatory schooling of children and the economic development both implemented by the French central state, the French language has progressed significantly on Mayotte in recent years. The survey conducted by the Ministry of National Education showed that while first and second language speakers of French represented 56.9% of the population in general, this figure was only 37.7% for the parents of CM2 pupils, but reached 97.0% for the CM2 pupils themselves (whose age is between 10 and 14 in general).

Nowadays there are instances of families speaking only French to their children in the hope of helping their social advancement. With French schooling and French language television, many young people turn to French or use many French words when speaking Shimaore and Kibushi, leading some to fear that these native languages of Mayotte could either disappear or become some sort of French-based creole.[23]

Cultural practices

Approximately 25% of the adult population, and five times as many women as men, enter trance states in which they believe they are possessed by certain identifiable spirits who maintain stable and coherent identities from one possession to the next.[24]

See also

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  1. ^ Ben Cahoon. "Information on Mayotte". Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c INSEE, Government of France. "212 600 habitants à Mayotte en 2012 - La population augmente toujours fortement" (PDF) (in français). Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Produit intérieur brut à Mayotte en 2009 : Une croissance dynamique mais un retard à rattraper". INSEE. Retrieved 2013-10-01. 
  4. ^ "Mayotte devient le 101e département français", Portail du Gouvernement, 4 April 2011, C'est pourquoi Mayotte devient le 101e département français et le 5e département d'Outre-Mer et région d'Outre-Mer. 
  5. ^ "France Cast UN Veto". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 7 February 1976. Retrieved 13 April 2011. The vote was 11-1 with three abstentions -- the United States, Britain and Italy. 
  6. ^ Celine Nahory, Giji Gya, Misaki Watanabe. "Subjects of UN Security Council Vetoes". Global Policy Forum. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  7. ^ "Enquête sur le Futur 101e Département" (in français). 
  8. ^ "Mayotte votes to become France's 101st department". 29 March 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  9. ^ Invalid language code. Mayotte vote en faveur de la départementalisation, Le Monde, 29 March 2009
  10. ^ "Mayotte becomes 101st department". The Connexion. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  11. ^ UN General Assembly General Debate of the 67th Session - Comoros (The)
  12. ^ Elise Cannuel (31 March 2011). "EU shores spread to Indian Ocean island". Deutsche Welle. 
  13. ^ "Mayotte accède à son statut de département dans la confusion". Le Monde. 
  14. ^ Marina Mielczarek (31 March 2011). "Mayotte devient le 101ème département français". Radio France Internationale. 
  15. ^ "Council Directive 2013/61/EU of December 2013" (PDF). 2013-12-17. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ Minister of the Economy, Industry and Employment (France). "L'évolution du régime monétaire outre-mer" (in français). Retrieved 30 November 2008. 
  18. ^ INSEE, Government of France. "Population de Mayotte selon le lieu de naissance - RP 07" (in français). Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  19. ^ "Europe | Mayotte backs French connection". BBC News. 29 March 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  20. ^ "Africa :: Mayotte". CIA. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  21. ^ INSEE, Government of France. "LANG1M- Population de 14 ans ou plus par sexe, âge et langues parlées" (in français). Retrieved 2013-10-10. 
  22. ^ Daniel Barreteau. "Premiers résultats d'une enquête sociolinguistique auprès des élèves de CM2 de Mayotte" (PDF) (in français). Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  23. ^ Malango Mayotte (October 2, 2009). "Le shimaoré fout le camp" (in français). Retrieved 2013-10-10. 
  24. ^ Lambek, Michael 1988 Spirit Possession/Spirit Succession: Aspects of Social Continuity among Malagasy Speakers in Mayotte. American Ethnologist: 15 (4): 710-731

External links

Coordinates: 12°50′35″S 45°08′18″E / 12.84306°S 45.13833°E / -12.84306; 45.13833{{#coordinates:12|50|35|S|45|08|18|E|region:FR-TF_type:isle_scale:500000 |primary |name= }}

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