Mauritius - History
Mauritius was known to the early Arab traders, as it can be found marked on their maps, but the first visitors from Europe were the Portuguese, who landed in 1510.They used the island as a victualling stop on the ways to Goa and Malacca, but did not settle.
The first attempt at colonisation was made by the Dutch, who arrived in 1598, and named the island Mauritius, after Prince Maurice of Nassau. They introduced sugar, Malagasy slaves, and a herd of Javanese deer.
The Dutch were heedlessly destructive and were responsible for the disappearance of the magnificent ebony forests and the extinction of the Dodo. They eventually abandoned their settlements in 1710.
The French occupied the island between 1715 and 1810, and renamed it Isle de France, and today many place names are reminders of this period. Mahé de Labourdonnais, who took over as governor in 1735, rebuilt Port Louis and opened the first sugar mill.
In 1810, with the British takeover, the name reverted to Mauritius. The abolition of slavery then led to the importation of Indian and Chinese labourers who were followed by traders of same nationalities. Mauritius obtained independence from Britain on 12 March 1968, and since then has been an independent sovereign nation within the commonwealth.Under the Constitution, which is based on the Westminster model, political power is vested in the Prime Minister and the cabinet.
Elections are usually held every five years. Mauritius became a Republic 0n 12 March 1992. Population Mauritius has a population estimated at 1,150226 people, with about 35 663 on Rodrigues island, a small dependency which forms part of Mauritius. The percentage rate of population growth is 1.1 per annum and the density is approximately 578 per square kilometre. Mauritius has a young educated population, which is remarkable for its ethnic diversity with Mauritians of Indian, African, European and Chinese origin. This has produced a brew of languages, religions and customs.
English is the official language but almost everyone speaks French. Oriental languages, especially Bhojpuri, Hindi and Hakka figure prominently but Creole remains the "Lingua Franca".
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