Mauritius Mauritius

After a brief Dutch settlement, French immigrants who came in 1715 named the island Île de France and established the first road and harbor infrastructure, as well as the sugar industry, under the leadership of Gov. Mahe de Labourdonnais. Blacks from Africa and Madagascar came as slaves to work in the sugarcane fields. In 1810, the British captured the island and in 1814, by the Treaty of Paris, it was ceded to Great Britain along with its dependencies.

Mauritius History

In 1598, the Dutch on their way to the East fortuitously landed at Vieux Grand Port, in the south east of the island, and named it after their Prince “ Mauritius Van Nassau ”, the younger son of Guillaume de Nassau, Prince Orange and Stadholder of Holland. Unlike the Portuguese who had little influence in the Indian Ocean, the Dutch were much more powerful in the region. They had already several counters in the East and established a first settlement under the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch however showed more interest with the Far East and the peopling of Mauritius remained very unstable. In 1712, they finally withdrew from Mauritius because of the difficult climatic conditions prevailing on the island and because it was more worthwhile to consolidate their already established base in Capetown (South Africa).
     
 Their withdrawal allowed the French in 1715, who were already operating in the Indian Ocean, to move in. They named the island Isle de France. True colonisation and peopling of the island started under the French in 1722 and they would control the island until 1810. For almost 100 years the Isle de France was developed and built up with the objective of conquering Madras and other Indian counters from the British. Under the French, colonisation was successful because they were prepared to settle and develop the infrastructure, agriculture and economy and use it as a trading post rather than just a port of call.
     
After the defeat of the French in India, Britain became the most important land based power in the Indian Ocean. Finally in 1810 the British moved in and took over the island six months after having been vanquished by the same French during the naval battle of Vieux Grand Port. It was to be the one and only victory of the navy of Napoleon in the world.
     
Mauritius history immigrantsIt was during British rule that slavery was abolished in 1835 and Indentured labourers were contracted from India. The 19th Century was a time of great change in the population structure of the island. The coloured people and immigrants greatly modified the political of the island. The 20th Century saw a continuation of the political struggle started in the 19th Century. Political Parties were formed and the distribution of power was reformed to accommodate the different emerging segment of the population. In 1936 the Mauritian Labour Party was created and in 1968 the island became an independent country. The second half of the 20th Century is marked by reforms brought to the economy which led to the economic boom after 1982 and to the transformation of the island from an underdeveloped, third world country into a developing country.
 
Geography

Mauritius is a mountainous island in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar.

Government

Parliamentary democracy within the British Commonwealth.
 
Agricultural Diversification

The effects of Cyclone Claudette in 1979 and of falling world sugar prices in the early 1980s led the government to initiate a vigorous program of agricultural diversification and develop the processing of imported goods for the export market. The country formally broke ties with the British Crown in March 1992, becoming a republic within the Commonwealth.

In addition to sugarcane, textile production and tourism are the leading industries. Primary education is free, and Mauritius boasts one of the highest literacy rates in sub-Saharan Africa.

With a complicated ethnic mix—about 30% of the population is of African descent and the remainder is mostly of Indian descent, both Hindu and Muslim—political allegiances are organized according to class and ethnicity.
 
Presidential Elections

In Feb. 2002, Mauritius went through four presidents in succession. Two resigned within days of each other, each after refusing to sign a controversial anti-terrorism law that severely curtailed the rights of suspects. The law, supported by the prime minister, was ultimately signed by a third, interim president. At the end of February, a fourth president, Karl Offman, was elected by parliament.

In Oct. 2003, Paul Berenger, a white Mauritian of French ancestry, became the first non-Hindu prime minister in the history of Mauritius. Berenger and the previous prime minister, Anerood Jugnauth, formed a coalition during Sept. 2000 elections. Under their agreement, Jugnauth served as prime minister for three years and Berenger assumed the prime ministership for the remaining two years of the term. Jugnauth then became president in 2003, and in July 2005, Navin Ramgoolam, prime minister from 1995 to 2000, again assumed that office.

 

Main Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing Destinations in Mauritius:

  • Mauritius Botanical Garden
  • Black River Gorges National Park
  • Île aux Cerfs Island
  • Port Louis
  • Grand Bassin
  • Chamarel park - 7 colored earth & Chamarel falls