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Mauritius island is situated in the Indian Ocean...
The hotels have a range of facilities...
The island consists of people of Asian, African and European origin...
Mauritius regroups some of the world's loveliest beaches...
All types of water sports and activities...
The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation...
The Portuguese sailor Bartholomew Dias...
Mauritius issued its first postage stamps on 22 September 1847...
History of Mauritius
1488: The Portuguese sailor Bartholomew Dias, wrote the first chapter of the fascinating history of a commercial sea route between Europe and Asia, known as the Spice Route, by rounding the Cape of Good Hope. And without in the least being aware of it,he was also writing the first pages of the History of Mauritius, which was then still uninhabited, and which in the course of time, became the turntable of the commercial route between Europe and Asia.
An old map dating back to 1502, and which is the oldest on record so far, indicates the presence of the Mascarene islands in this region of the world. They had Arab names.Mauritius was known as Dina Arobi, Rodrigues was called Dina Morare and Réunion bore the name of Dina Margabim.
It’s only the arrival of the first Portuguese in the beginning of the 16th century that gives a recorded evidence of human presence on Mauritian soil. They gave the island its former name of Ihla do Cerne (Swan Island).
Towards the end of the 16th century, the Dutch launched themselves on the commercial conquest of the East and guided and encouraged by Maurice Van Nassau, they built up a strong merchant navy which grew into one of the most powerful mercantile forces in the world in the 17th century.
1598: The Vice-Admiral Wybrant van Warwijck’s destiny brought him and his men in what today is the Grand Port Bay. They took the opportunity to replenish their stocks and to explore the island, to which they gave the name of Mauritius after their prince Maurice van Nassau.
In 1638, a first batch of settlers came to Mauritius. This first attempt at colonisation lasted 20 years, after which the Dutch decided to abandon the island in 1658 preferring their new colony in the Cape of Good Hope.
In 1664, the Dutch attempted a second phase of colonisation which was going to meet with a greater measure of success. As very few ebony trees still stood in the southeast, the settlers marched towards the east, particularly in the Flacq region. They embarked upon an agricultural development programme, growing sugar cane, rice, indigo and tobacco. They also started breeding cattle. However, following a very strong cyclone that struck in 1695 and blew down most of the infrastructure, the Dutch government decided to give it up for good and the last contingent of settlers left in 1710.
From the beginning of the 17th century, the king of France had delegated full powers to the East India Company (EIC) to take possession of territories in the name of the kingdom and to set up colonies in the newly acquired lands. At the time when the Dutch were leaving Mauritius, the French were already present in Bourbon Island, the present Réunion, and in Madagascar.
On 20 September 1715, Captain Guillaume Dufresne d’Arcel landed at Port Nord-Ouest in the region of what is today known as Les Salines in Port Louis and took official possession of the island after making sure that it had really been abandoned. After having hoisted the French flag on the Mauritian soil, he gave the name of Isle de France to this new French possession. The first settlers would, however, come only in 1721. But the colony really started to take shape with the arrival of Governor Mahé de La Bourdonnais in 1735.
Isle de France witnessed a rapid development during the twelve years of the Governor’s administration, especially in Port Louis, and when La Bourdonnais left Isle de France in 1747, the island had become an important naval base and the capital of the East India Company in the Indian Ocean.
This period of great constructions and development also gave a boost to the slave trade which was a common activity in those days. Thousands of slaves were brought here mainly from Madagascar and Mozambique.
In the meantime, the East India Company had started facing serious financial problems. Isle de France was also affected by the Seven Year War between the French and the British (1756-1763). On the brink of bankruptcy, the EIC had no choice but to hand the island back to the state in 1765.
Once again in charge of Isle de France, the King sent Intendent Pierre Poivre to head its administration. History remembers Poivre particularly as being the one who introduced several spice plants here as well as in Bourbon and the Seychelles. He also created the Botanical Gardens of Pamplemousses which, besides offering a collection of a very wide variety of spice plants, was also designed to be a remarkable nursery of exotic trees and flowers. Poivre stimulated the island to achieve a rate of growth which it had not experienced for quite some time. The harbour regained a brisk activity after the liberalisation of trade with India in the wake of the end of the monopoly by the East India Company.
On 29 November 1810, the British landed in the North of the island and marched towards Port Louis. The first British governor was Robert Townsend Farquhar a very refined diplomat unanimously designated.
The British victory was made official by the Treaty of Paris in 1814, which also restituted Réunion Island to France. The Treaty also confirmed the honourable terms of capitulation which the British had promised the French settlers in 1810, especially those clauses regarding the respect of property, traditions, the laws in force, as well as the religions practised here and languages in use in the country.
1835: Slavery is unequivocally abolished in the colony. After the abolition of slavery, the planters turned to India for indentured labourers who came in hundreds of thousands until the beginning of the 20th century, to work in the sugar cane fields. In fact, something like 450,000 Indian labourers came to Mauritius during this period of indenture. In just a few years, the Indians became the most important component of the population, thus changing the socio-cultural landscape of the island.
The sugar industry was the one to develop above all else in the 19th century and Sugar factories started sprouting all over the place, each creating its own form of decentralised social activities and life in its factory area. The country as a whole, as well as the set up of the society, wore a new look. At the same time, the great malaria epidemics which affected Port Louis in the 1860s caused a number of people to move to Plaines Wilhems, thus impelling the creation of towns like Curepipe, Vacoas and Rose Hill. Added to this, the introduction of the railways in 1864 also contributed to a large extent to the migration of the population towards other regions.
The 20th century started amidst a brisk political emancipation of all the communities and Mauritius became independent on 12 March 1968 during an official flagraising ceremony at the Champ de Mars. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam became the first Prime Minister of the country, and was henceforth referred to as the Father of the Nation.
Mauritius National Anthem
Glory to thee
Motherland, O Motherland of mine
Sweet is thy beauty
Sweet is thy fragrance
Around thee we gather
As one people, as one nation
In Peace, justice and liberty
Beloved country, may God Bless thee
For ever and ever