NOSSI-BE, an island off Passandava Bay, on the northwest coast of Madagascar, in 13° 23' S. lat. and 45° 59' E. long., is situated 149 miles from Mayotte, and governed, along with the smaller island of Nossi-komba, by a French commandant subordinate to the governor of Mayotte. Nossi-be is of volcanic formation, the north and south parts of older, the central part of more modern date. Be sides a number of true volcanic craters of no great height (the culminating point of the island is only 1486 feet above the sea), M. Velain found a great many crater-lakes or circular troughs level with the ground - the result, probably, of subterranean explosions which did not last long enough to allow the lava to reach the surface (see rature, March 1877, p. 417). Nossi-bo has an area of 481,845 acres (nearly 750 square miles), of which not more than 1800 or 2000 acres are planted with sugar-cane, coffee, &c. Trade is mainly carried on with Madagascar, though a few vessels come directly from Zanzibar or Bombay. In 1878 the value of the imports was 1,470,449 francs, that of the exports 2,092,385. The population, consisting mainly of Sakalavas, varies considerably in number. Hellville, the European chief town (so called after De Hell, governor of Reunion at the time of the French annexation), had in 1878 from 1200 to 1500 inhabitants and the rest of the island about 6000.
In 1837 Tsiomeika, queen of the Sakalavas, was expelled by the Hovas and fled to Nossi-be and Nossi-komba. Failing to obtain assistance from the imam of Muscat, she accepted French protection. In 1849 a vigorous attempt was made to expel the French. See Von Jedina in Revue geogr. internat., 1877.