Posted on July 14, 2013
You see, it's Bastille Day in France (see link below, under the “Also on this date” heading). And Mayotte is French. So...today is considered the national day of this African island.
I'm always amazed when I realize how many little tiny regions, islands, or nations I haven't even heard of before—but of course they are home to thousands of people who have no doubt heard of, not just my country (the U.S.), but in some cases also my state (California)!
In this case, Mayotte, also called Maore, is an overseas department of France, an island that is more than four times larger than my town but only about a fourth the size of Los Angeles. It is tucked between the much, much larger island of Madagascar and the nation of Mozambique on mainland Africa. The rest of the islands in this area have banded together into the independent nation of Comoros, but the people of Mayotte chose to stay affiliated with France.
Why would the people living on an island near independent African nations choose to stay tied to the country that colonized it long ago? Well, I discovered that Comoros is one of the poorest nations in Africa (and that is saying something!), but Mayotte, while it is not as prosperous as France, is TEN TIMES richer than the neighboring islands!
Here is something I find unusual: although French is the only official language, the people of Mayotte know less French than those of any other French overseas territory. This is especially true of older people, though—the younger generations seem to be learning to speak, read, and write French better. There are many other languages on this relatively small island, as well, including Arabic and the native languages of Shimaore, Kibushi, and Kiantalaotsi.
Check out the cultural practices of the people of Mayotte.
Also on this date:
Check out my Pinterest pages on July holidays, historical anniversaries in July, and July birthdays.