Islands of stark contrasts and complex syncretisms, the Comoros hold a major key to the history of the western Indian Ocean area. Recent archaeological studies have confirmed that the islands were a crossroads of the region. Extensive long-distance maritime trade was recorded in oral histories and is reflected today in the cultures of the Islands: a mix of Arabian, Asian, African, Malagasy, and European traits. The coelecanth (a fish once thought to have been extinct for seventy-five million years) can be caught. The Islands have attracted recent world-wide attention for the political activities of the notorious mercenary, Bob Denard. This book is an authoritative introduction to the Comoro Islands; past and present. It is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the history, economics, cultures, languages, geography, geology, or politics of the Western Indian Ocean.