NOSSI-BE properly Nòsy-bé, i.e. "Great island," an island about 8 m. off the N.W. coast of Madagascar, in 13 23' S., 48 15' E. It is 14 m. long by 10 broad, and has an area of 130 sq. m. Nossi-bé is volcanic, the N. and S. parts of older, the central part of more modern date. Besides a number of true volcanic craters (Lokobe, the highest point, is 1486 ft. above the sea) there are numerous crater-lakes level with the ground (see Nature, March 1877, p. 417). The climate is similar to that of Mayotte (see COMORO ISLANDS), and the neighbouring islet of Nossi-komba, about 2000 ft. above the sea, serves for a sanatorium. Pop. (1902), 9291. Hellville, the chief town (so called after De Hell, governor of Reunion at the time of the French annexation), is a port of call for the Messageries Maritimes and a centre for the coasting trade along the western shores of Madagascar. There is excellent anchorage, and a pier 800 ft. long. The soil is very fertile, and there are forests of palms and bamboos. The chief products are coffee, sesame, the sugar-cane, cocoa, vanilla and tobacco. There are numerous sugar factories and rum distilleries.
In 1837 Tsiomeko, chief tainess of one of the numerous divisions of the western Malagasy known under the common name of Sa.kala.va, was expelled by the Hova and fled to Nossi-bé and Nossi-komba. Failing assistance from the imam of Muscat, she accepted French protection in 1840, ceding such rights as she possessed on the N.W. coast of the mainland. The French took possession in 1841, and in 1849 an unsuccessful attempt was made to expel them. The administration was entrusted to a subordinate of the governor of Mayotte until 1896, when Nossi-b6 was placed under the administration of Madagascar (q.v.). (J. Si.*)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)