Mayotte is an overseas department and region of France officially named the Department of Mayotte which consists of the main island, Grande-Terre, a smaller island, Petite-Terre and several islets around these two. Mayotte is within the Comoros archipelago, located in the northern Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Southeast Africa, between Madagascar and Mozambique. The island was initially populated by natives from East Africa and was later host to Arabs who introduced Islam to the inhabitants, with a sultanate established in 1500. After changing hands severally over the centuries, the island was finally bought by France in 1841. The people of Mayotte voted to remain politically a part of France in a referendum in1974, and they were officially announced as an overseas department on March 31, 2011.