Mayotte (French: Mayotte, pronounced [majɔt]; Shimaore: Maore, IPA: [maˈore]; Malagasy: Maiôty) is an overseas department/region and single territorial collectivity of France officially named the Department of Mayotte (French: Département de Mayotte).[3] is located in the northern Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Southeast Africa, between northwestern Madagascar and northeastern Mozambique. Mayotte consists of a main island, Grande-Terre (or Maore), a smaller island, Petite-Terre (or Pamanzi), and several islets around these two. Mayotte is the most prosperous territory in the Mozambique Channel, making it a major destination for illegal immigration.

Department of Mayotte
Département de Mayotte
Coordinates: 12°50′35″S 45°08′18″E
Country France
  President of the Departmental CouncilSoibahadine Ibrahim Ramadani (LR)
  Total374 km2 (144 sq mi)
Area rank18th region
 (Jan. 2021)[1]
  Density770/km2 (2,000/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+03:00 (EAT)
ISO 3166 code
GDP (2019)[2]Ranked 18th among France's 18 regions
Total€2.64 billion (US$2.96 bn)
Per capita€9,600 (US$10,800)
Departmental Council
Topographic map of Mayotte, the "seahorse island"

Mayotte's land area is 374 square kilometres (144 sq mi) and, with its 288,926 people according to January 2021 official estimates,[1] is very densely populated at 773 inhabitants per km2 (2,001 per sq mi). The biggest city and prefecture is Mamoudzou on Grande-Terre. The Dzaoudzi–Pamandzi International Airport is located on the neighbouring island of Petite-Terre. The territory is also known as Maore, the native name of its main island.

Mayotte is one of the overseas departments of France as well as one of the 18 regions of France, with the same status as the departments of Metropolitan France. It is an outermost region of the European Union and, as an overseas department of France, part of the eurozone.

French is spoken as a second language, while 63% of the population 14 years[4] and older reported in 2007 that they could speak French. The predominant native language of Mayotte is Shimaore.

The next most common native language is Kibushi, a Malagasy language, of which there are two varieties, Kibushi Kisakalava, most closely related to the Sakalava dialect of Malagasy, and Kibushi Kiantalaotra. Both have been influenced by Shimaore. The vast majority of the population is Muslim.

The island was populated from neighbouring East Africa with later arrival of Arabs, who brought Islam. A sultanate was established in 1500. In the 19th century, Mayotte was conquered by Andriantsoly, former king of Iboina on Madagascar.

Mayotte broke away from the Comoros and remained with France[5] after the Comoros declared its independence following in the 1974 referendum.[6] Mayotte became an overseas department on 31 March 2011 and became an outermost region of the European Union on 1 January 2014, following a March 2009 referendum with an overwhelming result in favour of the department status.

The new department is facing enormous problems and challenges. According to an INSEE report published in 2018, 84% of the population live under the poverty line (established at €959 per month and per household), compared to 16% in metropolitan France, 40% of dwellings are corrugated sheet metal shacks, 29% of households have no running water, and 34% of the inhabitants between the age of 15 and 64 do not have a job.[7] In 2019, with an annual population growth of 3.8%, half the population was less than 17 years old. In addition, as a result of massive illegal immigration from neighboring islands, 48% of the population are foreign nationals.[8]