Tuesday, March 06, 2007

History of Mauritius

History of Mauritius. This is a brief history of the island nation of Mauritius which lies east of the African continent. It is a good bet most Americans have never heard of the place.

The Encyclop√¶dia Britannica notes, "Officially Republic Of Mauritius, island country, the central independent island state of the Mascarene group, lying about 500 miles (800 km) east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. It is situated at latitude 20°18¢ S and longitude 57°36¢ E and extends 38 miles (61 km) from north to south and 29 miles (47 km) from east to west. Its outlying territories are Rodrigues Island, lying 344 miles (553 km) eastward, the Cargados Carajos Shoals, 250 miles (402 km) northeastward, and the Agalega Islands, 580 miles (933 km) northward from the main island. The capital is Port Louis."

From the site:

While Arab and Malay sailors knew of Mauritius as early as the 10th century AD and Portuguese sailors first visited in the 16th century, the island was not colonized until 1638 by the Dutch. Mauritius was populated over the next few centuries by waves of traders, planters and their slaves, indentured laborers, merchants, and artisans. The island was named in honor of Prince Maurice of Nassau by the Dutch, who abandoned the colony in 1710.

The French claimed Mauritius in 1715 and renamed it Ile de France. It became a prosperous colony under the French East India Company. The French Government took control in 1767, and the island served as a naval and privateer base during the Napoleonic wars. In 1810, Mauritius was captured by the British, whose possession of the island was confirmed 4 years later by the Treaty of Paris. French institutions, including the Napoleonic code of law, were maintained. The French language is still used more widely than English.

Mauritian Creoles trace their origins to the plantation owners and slaves who were brought to work the sugar fields. Indo-Mauritians are descended from Indian immigrants who arrived in the 19th century to work as indentured laborers after slavery was abolished in 1835. Included in the Indo-Mauritian community are Muslims (about 15% of the population) from the Indian subcontinent.

1 comment:

bscarbrough said...

First time I notice this island was on Google Earth. Other than that I never would have know it existed.