Mauritius
Overview
 
Mauritius officially the Republic of Mauritius (Mauritian Creole
Mauritian Creole
Mauritian Creole is a French-based creole language spoken in Mauritius. In addition to the French base of the language, there are also some words from English and from the many African and Asian languages that have been spoken on the island.- Sociolinguistic Situation :Mauritian Creole is the...

: Republik Moris; ) is an island nation
Island nation
An island country is a state whose primary territory consists of one or more islands or parts of islands. As of 2011, 47 of the 193 UN member states are island countries.-Politics:...

 off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

, about 900 kilometres (559.2 mi) east of Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

. In addition to the island of Mauritius, the Republic includes the islands of Cargados Carajos
Cargados Carajos
Cargados Carajos Shoals are a group of about 16 small islands and islets on an extended reef in the Indian Ocean northeast of Mauritius. The islands have a total land area of 1.3 km². The reef measures more than 50 km from north to south, and is 5 km wide, cut by three passes. The...

, Rodrigues
Rodrigues
Rodrigues is a common surname in the Portuguese language. It was originally a Patronymic, meaning Son of Rodrigo or Son of Rui. The "es" signifies "son of". The name Rodrigo is the Portuguese form of Roderick, meaning "famous power" or "famous ruler", from the Germanic elements "hrod" and "ric" ,...

 and the Agalega Islands
Agalega Islands
The Agalega Islands are two islands in the Indian Ocean, lying north of Mauritius at and are governed by that country. The islands have a total area of 24 km² , although the official figure of 70 km² appears too high when compared with data from satellite images.The North Island is home...

. Mauritius Island is part of the Mascarene Islands
Mascarene Islands
The Mascarene Islands is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar comprising Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues, Cargados Carajos shoals, plus the former islands of the Saya de Malha, Nazareth and Soudan banks...

, with the French island of Réunion
Réunion
Réunion is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about south west of Mauritius, the nearest island.Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France...

 200 km (124.3 mi) to the southwest and the island of Rodrigues
Rodrigues
Rodrigues is a common surname in the Portuguese language. It was originally a Patronymic, meaning Son of Rodrigo or Son of Rui. The "es" signifies "son of". The name Rodrigo is the Portuguese form of Roderick, meaning "famous power" or "famous ruler", from the Germanic elements "hrod" and "ric" ,...

 570 km (354.2 mi) to the northeast.
Encyclopedia
Mauritius officially the Republic of Mauritius (Mauritian Creole
Mauritian Creole
Mauritian Creole is a French-based creole language spoken in Mauritius. In addition to the French base of the language, there are also some words from English and from the many African and Asian languages that have been spoken on the island.- Sociolinguistic Situation :Mauritian Creole is the...

: Republik Moris; ) is an island nation
Island nation
An island country is a state whose primary territory consists of one or more islands or parts of islands. As of 2011, 47 of the 193 UN member states are island countries.-Politics:...

 off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

, about 900 kilometres (559.2 mi) east of Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

. In addition to the island of Mauritius, the Republic includes the islands of Cargados Carajos
Cargados Carajos
Cargados Carajos Shoals are a group of about 16 small islands and islets on an extended reef in the Indian Ocean northeast of Mauritius. The islands have a total land area of 1.3 km². The reef measures more than 50 km from north to south, and is 5 km wide, cut by three passes. The...

, Rodrigues
Rodrigues
Rodrigues is a common surname in the Portuguese language. It was originally a Patronymic, meaning Son of Rodrigo or Son of Rui. The "es" signifies "son of". The name Rodrigo is the Portuguese form of Roderick, meaning "famous power" or "famous ruler", from the Germanic elements "hrod" and "ric" ,...

 and the Agalega Islands
Agalega Islands
The Agalega Islands are two islands in the Indian Ocean, lying north of Mauritius at and are governed by that country. The islands have a total area of 24 km² , although the official figure of 70 km² appears too high when compared with data from satellite images.The North Island is home...

. Mauritius Island is part of the Mascarene Islands
Mascarene Islands
The Mascarene Islands is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar comprising Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues, Cargados Carajos shoals, plus the former islands of the Saya de Malha, Nazareth and Soudan banks...

, with the French island of Réunion
Réunion
Réunion is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about south west of Mauritius, the nearest island.Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France...

 200 km (124.3 mi) to the southwest and the island of Rodrigues
Rodrigues
Rodrigues is a common surname in the Portuguese language. It was originally a Patronymic, meaning Son of Rodrigo or Son of Rui. The "es" signifies "son of". The name Rodrigo is the Portuguese form of Roderick, meaning "famous power" or "famous ruler", from the Germanic elements "hrod" and "ric" ,...

 570 km (354.2 mi) to the northeast. The area of Mauritius is 2040 km2; its capital city is Port Louis
Port Louis
-Economy:The economy is dominated by its port, which handles Mauritius' international trade. The port was founded by the French who preferred Port Louis as the City is shielded by the Port Louis/Moka mountain range. It is the largest container handling facility in the Indian Ocean and can...

.

England took control of the islands from France during the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, and Mauritius became independent from the UK in 1968. It is a parliamentary republic
Parliamentary republic
A parliamentary republic or parliamentary constitutional republic is a type of republic which operates under a parliamentary system of government - meaning a system with no clear-cut separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. There are a number of variations of...

 and is a member of the Southern African Development Community
Southern African Development Community
The Southern African Development Community is an inter-governmental organization headquartered in Gaborone, Botswana. Its goal is to further socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 15 southern African states...

, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, is a free trade area with nineteen member states stretching from Libya to Zimbabwe. COMESA formed in December 1994, replacing a Preferential Trade Area which had existed since 1981...

, the African Union
African Union
The African Union is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity...

, La Francophonie
La Francophonie
Francophonie is an international organization of politics and governments with French as the mother or customary language, where a significant proportion of people are francophones , or where there is a notable affiliation with the French language or culture.Formally known as the Organisation...

 and the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

. Mauritius has an upper middle income economy.

The main languages spoken in Mauritius are Mauritian Creole
Mauritian Creole
Mauritian Creole is a French-based creole language spoken in Mauritius. In addition to the French base of the language, there are also some words from English and from the many African and Asian languages that have been spoken on the island.- Sociolinguistic Situation :Mauritian Creole is the...

, French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 and English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

. English is the only official language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

 but the lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

 is Mauritian Creole and the newspapers and television programmes are usually in French. Rodriguan Creole
Rodriguan Creole
Rodriguan Creole is a dialect of Mauritian Creole spoken on the island of Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean. The total number of speakers is estimated at 40,000. On the island of Rodrigues, like in the rest of the republic of Mauritius, English is the official language and French is also spoken....

 is a minority language and is spoken in some areas of the country. The country's populace is composed of several ethnicities, including Indian, African, Chinese and French. The first European explorers found no indigenous people living on the island.

The island of Mauritius is renowned for having been the only known home of the dodo
Dodo
The dodo was a flightless bird endemic to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Related to pigeons and doves, it stood about a meter tall, weighing about , living on fruit, and nesting on the ground....

. This bird was an easy prey to settlers due to its weight and inability to fly, and became extinct fewer than eighty years after the initial European colonization.

History

The island of Mauritius was unknown and uninhabited before its first recorded visit, by Arab sailor
Sailor
A sailor, mariner, or seaman is a person who navigates water-borne vessels or assists in their operation, maintenance, or service. The term can apply to professional mariners, military personnel, and recreational sailors as well as a plethora of other uses...

s during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 who named it Dina Arobi. In 1507 Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 sailors visited the uninhabited island and established a visiting base. Portuguese navigator Diogo Fernandes Pereira
Diogo Fernandes Pereira
Diogo Fernandes Pereira, sometimes called simply Diogo Fernandes, was a Portuguese 16th C. navigator, originally from Setúbal, Portugal. Diogo Fernandes was the first known European captain to visit the island of Socotra in 1503 and the discoverer of the Mascarenes archipelago in 1507...

 was probably the first Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an to land on the island at around 1511. The island appears with a Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 name 'Cirne' on early Portuguese maps, probably because of the presence of the dodo
Dodo
The dodo was a flightless bird endemic to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Related to pigeons and doves, it stood about a meter tall, weighing about , living on fruit, and nesting on the ground....

, a flightless bird
Flightless bird
Flightless birds are birds which lack the ability to fly, relying instead on their ability to run or swim. They are thought to have evolved from flying ancestors. There are about forty species in existence today, the best known being the ostrich, emu, cassowary, rhea, kiwi, and penguin...

 which was found in great numbers at that time. Another Portuguese sailor, Dom
Dom (title)
Dom is a title of respect prefixed to the given name. It derives from Latin Dominus.It is used in English for certain Benedictine and Carthusian monks, and for members of certain communities of Canons Regular. Examples include Benedictine monks of the English Benedictine Congregation...

 Pedro Mascarenhas
Pedro Mascarenhas
Pedro Mascarenhas was a Portuguese explorer and colonial administrator. He was the first European to discover the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in 1512...

, gave the name Mascarenes
Mascarene Islands
The Mascarene Islands is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar comprising Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues, Cargados Carajos shoals, plus the former islands of the Saya de Malha, Nazareth and Soudan banks...

 to the group of islands now known as Mauritius, Rodrigues
Rodrigues
Rodrigues is a common surname in the Portuguese language. It was originally a Patronymic, meaning Son of Rodrigo or Son of Rui. The "es" signifies "son of". The name Rodrigo is the Portuguese form of Roderick, meaning "famous power" or "famous ruler", from the Germanic elements "hrod" and "ric" ,...

 and Réunion
Réunion
Réunion is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about south west of Mauritius, the nearest island.Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France...

. The Portuguese did not stay long as they were not interested in these islands.

The Dutch period (1598–1710)

In 1598 a Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 squadron under Admiral Wybrand Van Warwyck landed at Grand Port
Grand Port
Grand Port is a district encompassing much of the south-eastern part of the island of Mauritius. Its capital is Rose-Belle but the most important town of the district is Mahebourg...

 and named the island "Mauritius", in honour of Prince Maurits van Nassau
Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange
Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange was sovereign Prince of Orange from 1618, on the death of his eldest half brother, Philip William, Prince of Orange,...

, stadtholder
Stadtholder
A Stadtholder A Stadtholder A Stadtholder (Dutch: stadhouder [], "steward" or "lieutenant", literally place holder, holding someones place, possibly a calque of German Statthalter, French lieutenant, or Middle Latin locum tenens...

 of the Dutch Republic. However, it was not until 1638 that there was a first attempt of Dutch settlement. It was from here that Dutch navigator Abel Tasman
Abel Tasman
Abel Janszoon Tasman was a Dutch seafarer, explorer, and merchant, best known for his voyages of 1642 and 1644 in the service of the VOC . His was the first known European expedition to reach the islands of Van Diemen's Land and New Zealand and to sight the Fiji islands...

 set out to discover the western part of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

. The first Dutch settlement lasted only twenty years. Several attempts were subsequently made, but the settlements never developed enough to produce dividends and the Dutch abandoned Mauritius in 1710. They are remembered for the introduction of sugar-cane, domestic animals, and deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

.

The French period (1715–1810)

France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, which already controlled neighboring Île Bourbon (now Réunion
Réunion
Réunion is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about south west of Mauritius, the nearest island.Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France...

), took control of Mauritius in 1715 and later renamed it Île de France (Isle of France). The 1735 arrival of French governor Mahé de La Bourdonnais coincided with development of a prosperous economy based on sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

 production. Mahé de La Bourdonnais established Port Louis
Port Louis
-Economy:The economy is dominated by its port, which handles Mauritius' international trade. The port was founded by the French who preferred Port Louis as the City is shielded by the Port Louis/Moka mountain range. It is the largest container handling facility in the Indian Ocean and can...

 as a naval base and a ship-building centre. Under his governorship, numerous buildings were erected, a number of which are still standing today - part of Government House
Government House
Government House is the name of many of the residences of Governors-General, Governors and Lieutenant-Governors in the Commonwealth and the remaining colonies of the British Empire. It serves as the venue for the Governor's official business, as well as the many receptions and functions hosted by...

, the Chateau de Mon Plaisir at Pamplemousses, and the Line Barracks. The island was under the administration of the French East India Company
French East India Company
The French East India Company was a commercial enterprise, founded in 1664 to compete with the British and Dutch East India companies in colonial India....

 which maintained its presence until 1767.

From 1767 to 1810, except for a brief period during the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 when the inhabitants set up a government virtually independent of France, the island was controlled by officials appointed by the French government. In particular Charles Mathieu Isidore Decaen a successful general in the French Revolutionary Wars
French Revolutionary Wars
The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of major conflicts, from 1792 until 1802, fought between the French Revolutionary government and several European states...

 and in some ways a rival of Napoleon, ruled as Governor General of Mauritius and Réunion from 1803 to 1810. British naval cartographer and explorer Matthew Flinders
Matthew Flinders
Captain Matthew Flinders RN was one of the most successful navigators and cartographers of his age. In a career that spanned just over twenty years, he sailed with Captain William Bligh, circumnavigated Australia and encouraged the use of that name for the continent, which had previously been...

 was arrested and detained by Decaen on the island for most of this period, in contravention of an order from Napoleon. During this period, the Napoleonic wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, "Île de France" became a base from which French corsairs organised successful raids on British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 commercial ships. The raids continued until 1810 when a strong Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 expedition led by Commodore Josias Rowley
Josias Rowley
Admiral Sir Josias Rowley, 1st Baronet GCB, GCMG , known as "The Sweeper of the Seas", was a naval officer who commanded the campaign that captured the French Indian Ocean islands of Réunion and Mauritius in 1810.-Naval career:...

 was sent to capture the island. Despite winning the Battle of Grand Port
Battle of Grand Port
The Battle of Grand Port was a naval battle between squadrons of frigates from the French Navy and the British Royal Navy. The battle was fought during 20–27 August 1810 over possession of the harbour of Grand Port on Île de France during the Napoleonic Wars...

, the only French naval victory over the British during these wars, the French surrendered to a British invasion at Cap Malheureux three months later. They formally surrendered on 3 December 1810, on terms allowing settlers to keep their land and property and to use the French language
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 and law of France in criminal and civil matters. Under British rule, the island's name reverted to the original one.

The British period (1810–1968)

The British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 administration, which began with Robert Farquhar as governor, was followed by rapid social and economic changes. Slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 was abolished in 1835. The planters received two million pounds sterling
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

 in compensation for the loss of their slaves who had been imported from Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

 during the French occupation. The abolition of slavery had important repercussions on the socio-economic and demographic fields. The planters turned to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, bringing in a large number of indentured labourers to work in the sugar cane fields. Between 1834 and 1921, around half a million indentured labourers were present on the island. They worked on sugar estates, factories, in transport and construction sites. Additionally, the British brought 8740 Indian soldiers to the islands.

Indians mainly originated from Calcutta, Madras
Chennai
Chennai , formerly known as Madras or Madarasapatinam , is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal. Chennai is the fourth most populous metropolitan area and the sixth most populous city in India...

 and Bombay
Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

. The first group arrived in 1721 from Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

 and Pondicherry. Most were Bengali
Bengali people
The Bengali people are an ethnic community native to the historic region of Bengal in South Asia. They speak Bengali , which is an Indo-Aryan language of the eastern Indian subcontinent, evolved from the Magadhi Prakrit and Sanskrit languages. In their native language, they are referred to as বাঙালী...

 Muslims or Tamil
Tamil people
Tamil people , also called Tamils or Tamilians, are an ethnic group native to Tamil Nadu, India and the north-eastern region of Sri Lanka. Historic and post 15th century emigrant communities are also found across the world, notably Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa, Australia, Canada,...

. Port-Louis was divided into three sectors, with the Indian community in the eastern suburb of ‘Camp de Malabar’. A great number of Hindus from Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

 and Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

 were brought as indentured labourers. There was also massive immigration from Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

, Southern and Eastern Africa, Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

 and Comoros
Comoros
The Comoros , officially the Union of the Comoros is an archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean, located off the eastern coast of Africa, on the northern end of the Mozambique Channel, between northeastern Mozambique and northwestern Madagascar...

. Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 immigrants who were in commerce also arrived later and the colony was transformed into a predominantly Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

tic population. The expanding marketing sector also attracted many Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 traders from North India.

As the Indian population became numerically dominant and the voting franchise was extended, political power shifted from the Franco-Mauritian
Franco-Mauritian
Franco-Mauritians are people of mainly French origin who reside in Mauritius. They number more than 24,000.-Origins:The first French settlers arrived in Mauritius in 1722, after the previous attempts of settlement by the Dutch had failed, and the island had once again become abandoned...

 and their Creole
Mauritian Creole People
Mauritian Creole people are the people of African and Malagasy origin who live in Mauritius. However, the Creole people today also includes minorities of people that have both African and Malagasy origins with Indian, Chinese, French and/or British backgrounds....

 allies to the Indo-Mauritian
Indo-Mauritian
Indo-Mauritians are people of Indian descent living on the island of Mauritius, where they represent a majority comprising 68% of the population according to the July 2007 statistics...

. Cultivation of sugar cane flourished, for export of sugar to England. Economic progress saw improvement of the means of communication and a gradual upgrading of infrastructure
Infrastructure
Infrastructure is basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise, or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function...

.

Following constitutional conferences held in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 in 1955 and 1957, the ministerial system was introduced and general elections were held on 9 March 1959. Voting took place for the first time on the basis of universal adult suffrage and the number of electors rose to 208,684. A Constitutional Review Conference was held in London in 1961 and a programme of further constitutional advance was established. The last constitutional conference, held in 1965, paved the way for Mauritius to achieve independence. After general elections in 1967, Mauritius adopted a new constitution and independence was proclaimed on 12 March 1968. Mauritius achieved the status of Republic 24 years later on 12 March 1992.

Government and Politics

Mauritius is a democracy with a Government elected every five years. The latest general election was held on 5 May 2010 in all the 20 mainland constituencies, as well as the constituency covering the island of Rodrigues
Rodrigues (island)
Rodrigues , sometimes spelled Rodriguez but named after the Portuguese explorer Diogo Rodrigues, is the smallest of the Mascarene Islands and a dependency of Mauritius...

. Historically, elections have tended to be a contest between two major coalitions of parties.

In international affairs, Mauritius is part of the Indian Ocean Commission
Indian Ocean Commission
The Indian Ocean Commission , known as the Commission de l'Océan Indien in French, is an intergovernmental organization that joins Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, France , and the Seychelles together to encourage cooperation. It was started in January 1984 under the General Victoria Agreement...

, the Southern African Development Community
Southern African Development Community
The Southern African Development Community is an inter-governmental organization headquartered in Gaborone, Botswana. Its goal is to further socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 15 southern African states...

 and the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 and La Francophonie
La Francophonie
Francophonie is an international organization of politics and governments with French as the mother or customary language, where a significant proportion of people are francophones , or where there is a notable affiliation with the French language or culture.Formally known as the Organisation...

 (French speaking countries), amongst others. A more complete list can be found in the main Politics of Mauritius
Politics of Mauritius
Politics of Mauritius takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, in which the President is the head of state and the prime minister is the head of government who is assisted by a council of Ministers . Mauritius has a multi-party system. Executive power is...

 article.

In 2006 Mauritius asked to be an observing member of Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) in order to form closer ties to those countries.

According to the 2011 Ibrahim Index of African Governance
Ibrahim Index of African Governance
The Ibrahim Index of African Governance is an attempt to statistically monitor African governance levels throughout all the countries of Africa. Funded and led by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, it uses a number of different indicators to compile an overall ranking of countries, which is designed to be...

, which measures governance using a number of different variables, Mauritius' government earned the highest rank for "Safety and Rule of Law" and "Sustainable Economic Opportunity" as well as earning the highest score in the index overall. Mauritius came second in "Participation and Human Rights" and "Human Development".
Office HeldOffice HolderIncumbency
President Anerood Jugnauth
Anerood Jugnauth
Sir Anerood Jugnauth , KCMG, QC, GCSK, PC, LLB, GOLH, GOP, ORS is the President of Mauritius and all its dependencies...

7 October 2003
Vice President
Vice President of Mauritius
The Vice President of Mauritius is a political position in Mauritius, created in 1992 when the country became a republic. The Vice President is elected by the National Assembly of Mauritius for term of five years. He or she is second to the head of state and also is responsible for covering the...

Monique Ohsan Bellepeau
Monique Ohsan Bellepeau
Agnès Monique Ohsan Bellepeau GOSK is the Vice President of the Republic of Mauritius. She won the parliamentary elections and was appointed on 12th November 2010 following the death of former Vice President, Angidi Chettiar. She was elected unanimously by all members of the National Assembly to...

13 November 2010
Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam
Navin Ramgoolam
Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK, FRCP, MP is the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs & External Communications, as well as Leader of the National Assembly. Being the leader of the Mauritian Labour Party, he serves as Member of parliament for constituency No...

5 July 2005
Deputy Prime Minister
Deputy Prime Minister
A deputy prime minister or vice prime minister is, in some counties, a government minister who can take the position of acting prime minister when the prime minister is temporarily absent. The position is often likened to that of a vice president, but is significantly different, though both...

Rashid Beebeejaun
Rashid Beebeejaun
Ahmed Rashid Beebeejaun, GCSK is the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Utilities of Mauritius having been in office since 2008. He is the Deputy leader of the Mauritian Labor Party since 2004 and is the first person to hold office of Prime Minister in the Mauritius line of Succession...

7 July 2005
Vice Prime Minister
Deputy Prime Minister
A deputy prime minister or vice prime minister is, in some counties, a government minister who can take the position of acting prime minister when the prime minister is temporarily absent. The position is often likened to that of a vice president, but is significantly different, though both...

Anil Bachoo
Anil Bachoo
Anil Kumar Bachoo is the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Public Infrastructure, National Development Unit, Land Transport and Shipping of Mauritius. He has been in office since 13 September 2008 and has already held the office from 2000 to 2005 under the leadership of then MSM/MMM coalition...

7 August 2011
Senior Minister
Senior Minister
Senior Minister is a political office in the political system of Singapore taken by a prime minister or senior cabinet minister when he or she retires from that office, but still has something to offer the government based on his or her long experience...


Sheila Bappoo
Sheila Bappoo
The Hon Mrs. Sheilabai Bappoo, GOSK, MP , is the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions in Mauritius and she held the same office from 2005 to 2010...

7 July 2005
Leader of the Opposition Paul Raymond Berenger 7 July 2005

Foreign relations

Mauritius
Mauritius
Mauritius , officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar...

 has strong and friendly relations with the West, as well as with India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and the countries of southern and eastern Africa. It is a member of the World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

, the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

, La Francophonie
La Francophonie
Francophonie is an international organization of politics and governments with French as the mother or customary language, where a significant proportion of people are francophones , or where there is a notable affiliation with the French language or culture.Formally known as the Organisation...

, the African Union, the Southern Africa Development Community, the Indian Ocean Commission
Indian Ocean Commission
The Indian Ocean Commission , known as the Commission de l'Océan Indien in French, is an intergovernmental organization that joins Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, France , and the Seychelles together to encourage cooperation. It was started in January 1984 under the General Victoria Agreement...

, COMESA, and the recently formed Indian Ocean Rim Association.

Trade, commitment to democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

, and the country's small size are driving forces behind Mauritian foreign policy. The country's political heritage and dependence on Western markets have led to close ties with the European Union and its member states, particularly the United Kingdom and France, which exercises sovereignty over neighboring Reunion Island.

Considered part of Africa geographically, Mauritius has friendly relations with other African states in the region, particularly South Africa, by far its largest continental trading partner. Mauritian investors are gradually entering African markets, notably Madagascar and Mozambique. Mauritius coordinates much of its foreign policy with the Southern Africa Development Community and the Organization of African Unity.

Relations with France and India are strong for both historical and commercial reasons. Foreign embassies in Mauritius include Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

Mauritius is also a member of the International Criminal Court
International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression .It came into being on 1 July 2002—the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the...

 with a Bilateral Immunity Agreement of protection for the US
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

-military (as covered under Article 98
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court . It was adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome on 17 July 1998 and it entered into force on 1 July 2002. As of 13 October 2011, 119 states are party to the statute...

).

Military and police

Mauritius does not have a standing army. All military, police, and security functions are carried out by 10,000 active-duty personnel under the command of the Commissioner of Police. This consists of an 8,000 member National Police
Mauritius Police Force
The Mauritius Police Force is the national law enforcement agency of Mauritius. The MPF carries out police, security and military functions on the island nation, with over 10,000 active-duty personnel under the command of the Commissioner of Police....

 which is responsible for domestic law enforcement, a 1,500 member Special Mobile Force
Special Mobile Force
The Special Mobile Force is a paramilitary unit that serves as the main internal security force in Mauritius. As Mauritius has no dedicated military, mainly due to the cost that it would incur, the SMF forms part of the Mauritius Police Force, with its personnel on long term rotation from the...

 (SMF), and a 500 member National Coast Guard.

Geography

Together with Réunion
Réunion
Réunion is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about south west of Mauritius, the nearest island.Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France...

 and Rodrigues
Rodrigues (island)
Rodrigues , sometimes spelled Rodriguez but named after the Portuguese explorer Diogo Rodrigues, is the smallest of the Mascarene Islands and a dependency of Mauritius...

, Mauritius is part of the Mascarene Islands
Mascarene Islands
The Mascarene Islands is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar comprising Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues, Cargados Carajos shoals, plus the former islands of the Saya de Malha, Nazareth and Soudan banks...

. This archipelago
Archipelago
An archipelago , sometimes called an island group, is a chain or cluster of islands. The word archipelago is derived from the Greek ἄρχι- – arkhi- and πέλαγος – pélagos through the Italian arcipelago...

 was formed in a series of undersea volcanic
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

 eruptions 8-10 million years ago, as the African plate
African Plate
The African Plate is a tectonic plate which includes the continent of Africa, as well as oceanic crust which lies between the continent and various surrounding ocean ridges.-Boundaries:...

 drifted over the Réunion hotspot
Réunion hotspot
The Réunion hotspot is a volcanic hotspot which currently lies under the Island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. The Chagos-Laccadive Ridge and the southern part of the Mascarene Plateau are volcanic traces of the Réunion hotspot....

. They are no longer volcanically active, and the hotspot now rests under Réunion. The island of Mauritius is formed around a central plateau, with its highest peak in the southwest, Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire
Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire
Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire is the highest mountain on the island of Mauritius,in the Indian Ocean. Located in the Black River district and rising to a height of 828 m above sea level, it forms part of the Black River mountain range.There are two other main mountain ranges in Mauritius:...

 at 828 metres (2,717 ft). Around the plateau, the original crater can still be distinguished from several mountains.

The island's capital and largest city is Port Louis, in the northwest. Other important towns are Rose-Hill
Rose-Hill
Rose Hill is the third largest town in Mauritius, and is capital of the Lower Plaines Wilhems. It is a major commercial centre, second only to the capital Port Louis.-History:...

 and Beau-Bassin, Curepipe
Curepipe
Curepipe is a town centrally situated in Mauritius, an island country in the southwest Indian Ocean. It is second in size and importance to Port Louis, the capital....

, Vacoas, Phoenix, Quatre Bornes
Quatre Bornes
Quatre Bornes is a town in Mauritius, located in the Upper Plaines Wilhems District, between the towns of Rose Hill and Vacoas-Phoenix. Covering an area of over twenty thousand square kilometres, Quatre Bornes is linked by roads to the north, east, south and west of Mauritius...

.

Climate

The local climate
Climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

 is tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; there is a warm, dry winter from May to November and a hot, wet, and humid summer from November to May. Anti-cyclones affect the country during May to September. Cyclones affect the country during November–April. Hollanda
Cyclone Hollanda
Cyclone Hollanda was the worst tropical cyclone in Mauritius in 19 years. It formed on February 6, 1994, in the central Indian Ocean in the southern hemisphere. The cyclone moved southwestward for much of its duration, striking Mauritius on February 10 at peak intensity with winds of...

 (1994) and Dina (2002) were the worst two last cyclones to have affected the island.

Biodiversity

The Dodo

When it was discovered, the island of Mauritius was the home of a previously unknown species of bird, which the Portuguese named the dodo
Dodo
The dodo was a flightless bird endemic to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Related to pigeons and doves, it stood about a meter tall, weighing about , living on fruit, and nesting on the ground....

 (simpleton), as they appeared to be not too bright. By 1681 all dodos had been killed by the settlers or by their domesticated animals. An alternate theory suggests that the imported wild boars that were set free destroyed the slow-breeding dodo population. The dodo is prominently featured as a supporter of the national coat-of-arms (see above).

Environment

The environment in Mauritius is typically tropical in the coastal regions with forests in the mountainous areas. Seasonal cyclones are destructive to the flora and fauna, although they recover quickly.

Mauritius has a Ministry of Environment that is responsible for the cleanliness of the island, including garbage and litter collection at public places. Environmental complaints and requests for Environmental Awareness can be filed online.

The air quality in Mauritius is one of the best in the world. Mauritius ranked second in an-air quality index released by the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 (OMS).

Demographics

The population estimate (as of 1 July 2011) for the whole republic is 1,286,340; for the island of Mauritius only it is 1,248,129. Mauritian society includes people from many different ethnic groups. The republic's residents are the descendants of people from India (Indo-Mauritian
Indo-Mauritian
Indo-Mauritians are people of Indian descent living on the island of Mauritius, where they represent a majority comprising 68% of the population according to the July 2007 statistics...

), continental Africa (Mauritian Creole people
Mauritian Creole People
Mauritian Creole people are the people of African and Malagasy origin who live in Mauritius. However, the Creole people today also includes minorities of people that have both African and Malagasy origins with Indian, Chinese, French and/or British backgrounds....

 usually known as 'Creoles' in Mauritian Creole), France (Franco-Mauritian
Franco-Mauritian
Franco-Mauritians are people of mainly French origin who reside in Mauritius. They number more than 24,000.-Origins:The first French settlers arrived in Mauritius in 1722, after the previous attempts of settlement by the Dutch had failed, and the island had once again become abandoned...

) and China (Sino-Mauritian
Sino-Mauritian
Sino-Mauritians, also referred to as Chinese Mauritians or Mauritian Chinese, are Mauritians of Chinese descent. They form about 3% of the local population.-Migration history:...

), among other places.

Language

The Mauritian Constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 makes no mention of an official language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

 and its one million citizens speak mostly Mauritian Creole
Mauritian Creole
Mauritian Creole is a French-based creole language spoken in Mauritius. In addition to the French base of the language, there are also some words from English and from the many African and Asian languages that have been spoken on the island.- Sociolinguistic Situation :Mauritian Creole is the...

 (a French-based creole), English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 and French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

. It is only in the Parliament
Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

 that the official language is English, although any member of the National Assembly can still address the chair in French. However, English is generally accepted as the official language of Mauritius and as the language of government administration, the courts and business. The constitution of Mauritius and all laws are written in English. In Mauritius, people switch languages according to the situation. French and English, which have long enjoyed greater social status, are favored in educational and professional settings. Also, most newspapers, such as Le Mauricien
Le Mauricien
Le Mauricien is a French-language newspaper, based and distributed in Mauritius. The newspaper, founded in 1908, is released daily and is one of the most read in Mauritius....

and L'Express
L'Express (Mauritius)
L'Express is a French-language daily newspaper, published in Mauritius since 1963 and owned by La Sentinelle, Ltd. L'Express endeavours to cover Mauritian news in an independent and impartial manner, as described in its Code of Conduct for Journalists. It is the most read daily of Mauritius and...

, and media communications are in French. The Mauritian Creole, derived mainly from French with influences from the other dialects, is spoken by the majority of the population and is considered the country's native language. Rodriguan Creole
Rodriguan Creole
Rodriguan Creole is a dialect of Mauritian Creole spoken on the island of Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean. The total number of speakers is estimated at 40,000. On the island of Rodrigues, like in the rest of the republic of Mauritius, English is the official language and French is also spoken....

 and Agalega Creole
Agalega Creole
Agalega Creole is a French-based creole language spoken in Agalega. It has been heavily influenced by both Mauritian Creole and Seychellois Creole, as well as Malagasy. The total population of speakers number just under 1,000....

 are spoken by people from Rodrigues
Rodrigues
Rodrigues is a common surname in the Portuguese language. It was originally a Patronymic, meaning Son of Rodrigo or Son of Rui. The "es" signifies "son of". The name Rodrigo is the Portuguese form of Roderick, meaning "famous power" or "famous ruler", from the Germanic elements "hrod" and "ric" ,...

 and Agalega
Agalega Islands
The Agalega Islands are two islands in the Indian Ocean, lying north of Mauritius at and are governed by that country. The islands have a total area of 24 km² , although the official figure of 70 km² appears too high when compared with data from satellite images.The North Island is home...

 islands.

Some ancestral languages which are also spoken in Mauritius include Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

 or Bhojpuri, Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

, Telugu
Telugu language
Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

, Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

, Marathi
Marathi language
Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Marathi people of western and central India. It is the official language of the state of Maharashtra. There are over 68 million fluent speakers worldwide. Marathi has the fourth largest number of native speakers in India and is the fifteenth most...

, Chinese language
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 (Hakka, Mandarin or Cantonese) and Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

.

School students must use English and French; they also have the option to study any oriental language including Mauritian Creole. The Mauritian population is multilingual, most Mauritians are equally fluent in English and French.

Religion

Hindus
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 make up 52%, Roman Catholic 27.5 %, other Christians 8.6%, Muslims
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 16.6% and non-religious 0.4% while other religions up to 2.5%, and an additional 0.3% didn't specify their religious beliefs.

Most Franco-Mauritian
Franco-Mauritian
Franco-Mauritians are people of mainly French origin who reside in Mauritius. They number more than 24,000.-Origins:The first French settlers arrived in Mauritius in 1722, after the previous attempts of settlement by the Dutch had failed, and the island had once again become abandoned...

s and Mauritian Creoles
Mauritian Creole People
Mauritian Creole people are the people of African and Malagasy origin who live in Mauritius. However, the Creole people today also includes minorities of people that have both African and Malagasy origins with Indian, Chinese, French and/or British backgrounds....

 are Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

. The Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 population and most of the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 population are of South Asian origins. However, many Mauritians are of mixed descent, due to the fact that many of the slaves were mixed up causing many 'mixed races'. These languages are still preserved through the existence of different socio-cultural organizations and with the school systems obliging primary school students to study an oriental language. A minority of people are of Chinese
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

 descent, many of whom have embraced Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, following mainly Roman Catholicism. Some follow Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and Confucian traditions.

Education

Education from pre-primary through to secondary is free for persons born in the country, and primary level net enrollment ratio is consistently above 90% (93.3% in 1991 and 94.0% in 2009).

Before 2001 most prestigious schools were called "Star Schools", and CPE pupils would compete to gain entrance to those schools based on a ranking system. In 2001 the Government - with Steven Obeegadoo as Minister of Education - instituted an educational reform. The ranking system was abolished and replaced by a grading system coupled with a regionalisation system which advocates choosing a school near one's residence. In February 2006, with Dharambeer Gokhool as Minister of Education, the "A+" system, which is similar to the pre-2001 system, was introduced, wherein CPE students need to get "A+" in all their subjects to gain admission to "National Colleges" which consequently became as much coveted as the "Star Schools" were before the reform.

Districts and dependencies

  • The island of Mauritius is divided into nine district
    District
    Districts are a type of administrative division, in some countries managed by a local government. They vary greatly in size, spanning entire regions or counties, several municipalities, or subdivisions of municipalities.-Austria:...

    s:
  1. Black River (Capital: Bambous)
  2. Flacq
    Flacq
    Flacq is a district of Mauritius, situated in the east of the island. The capital is Centre de Flacq. It is the largest district, having an area of 298 km², and as of 2000 has a population of 126,839....

     (Capital: Centre de Flacq
    Centre de Flacq
    Centre de Flacq is a town and the capital of the district of Flacq in east-central Mauritius. It is located at an altitude of 154 feet . Flacq is connected to the road that links with the capital city of Port Louis and provides access to the coastal road...

    )
  3. Grand Port
    Grand Port
    Grand Port is a district encompassing much of the south-eastern part of the island of Mauritius. Its capital is Rose-Belle but the most important town of the district is Mahebourg...

     (Capital: Mahébourg
    Mahébourg
    Mahébourg is a small city on the southeastern coast of the island of Mauritius. It is the capital of the Grand Port District.- Overview :...

    )
  4. Moka (Capital: Quartier Militaire
    Quartier Militaire
    Quartier Militaire is a town found in the centre of Mauritius, found in the Moka District and the capital of the Garden District. It houses the District Council of the region. It has a population of over 30,600...

    )
  5. Pamplemousses (Capital: Triolet
    Triolet, Mauritius
    - Location :Triolet is a small town on the island of Mauritius. It serves the district capital of Pamplemousses. It lies exactly 7 miles from Port Louis, the capital of the island. The village is a patch of civilisation amid green sugarcane fields, near the north-western coast of the island...

    )
  6. Plaines Wilhems
    Plaines Wilhems
    Plaines Wilhems is one of the most important districts in Mauritius. It has most of the major towns of the country, like Quatre-Bornes, Vacoas-Phœnix, Rose Hill etc. It is divided into Upper Plaine Wilhems and Lower Plaine Wilhems...

     (Capital: Rose-Hill
    Rose-Hill
    Rose Hill is the third largest town in Mauritius, and is capital of the Lower Plaines Wilhems. It is a major commercial centre, second only to the capital Port Louis.-History:...

    )
  7. Port Louis (Capital of Mauritius)
  8. Rivière du Rempart (Capital: Mapou
    Mapou
    For the tree of the same name see MatipoMapou is a village in the northern part of the island of Mauritius. It serves the district capital of Rivière du Rempart. The island are linked with the coastal road as well as a road to Triolet and Port Louis. the village also has a post office, a primary...

    )
  9. Savanne
    Savanne
    Savanne is a district in Mauritius. The capital is Souillac. As of the 2000 census, the district has a population of 66,356 and covers an area of 243 km².The south of Mauritius is one of the most scenic and unspoilt parts of the island...

     (Capital: Souillac
    Souillac, Mauritius
    Souillac is a village close to the southernmost point of the main island of Mauritius. It is the capital of Savanne district. It was named after the Vicomte de Souillac, the island's governor from 1779-1787.-History:...

    )

Dependencies

  • Rodrigues
    Rodrigues (island)
    Rodrigues , sometimes spelled Rodriguez but named after the Portuguese explorer Diogo Rodrigues, is the smallest of the Mascarene Islands and a dependency of Mauritius...

    , an island 560 kilometres (348 mi) east of Mauritius, which attained limited autonomy in October 2002. It had the status of the 10th administrative district of Mauritius before autonomy was attained.
  • Agalega Islands
    Agalega Islands
    The Agalega Islands are two islands in the Indian Ocean, lying north of Mauritius at and are governed by that country. The islands have a total area of 24 km² , although the official figure of 70 km² appears too high when compared with data from satellite images.The North Island is home...

    , two islands 1100 km north of Mauritius
  • Cargados Carajos
    Cargados Carajos
    Cargados Carajos Shoals are a group of about 16 small islands and islets on an extended reef in the Indian Ocean northeast of Mauritius. The islands have a total land area of 1.3 km². The reef measures more than 50 km from north to south, and is 5 km wide, cut by three passes. The...


Fishing banks

Four fishing banks fall within EEZ
Exclusive Economic Zone
Under the law of the sea, an exclusive economic zone is a seazone over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, including production of energy from water and wind. It stretches from the seaward edge of the state's territorial sea out to 200 nautical...

 limits:
  • Soudan Banks
    Soudan Banks
    The Soudan Banks are a group of underwater high points and reefs off the coast of Africa, known for their good fishing and administered by Mauritius. The five banks lie on the Mascarene plateau. North Soudan contains large salmon stocks. South Soudan is the largest of the banks, with many reefs...

     (including East Soudan Bank)
  • Nazareth Bank
    Nazareth Bank
    Nazareth Bank is a large submerged bank in the Indian Ocean. It lies about 1040 km east of northern Madagascar and 280 km south of Saya de Malha Bank. The closest land is Cargados Carajos shoals, a small and remote dependency of Mauritius located 140 km to the southwest. The Nazareth...

  • Saya de Malha Bank
    Saya de Malha Bank
    The Saya de Malha Bank is the largest submerged bank in the World, part of the vast undersea Mascarene Plateau...

  • Hawkins Bank
    Hawkins Bank
    Hawkins Bank is a large, submerged bank off the Mascarene Plateau. It is considered a dependency of Mauritius The bank is abundant with fish and Mauritian vessels often fish in the waters in and around the bank....


Claimed as dependencies

Mauritius claims the following territories:
  • Tromelin Island
    Tromelin Island
    Tromelin Island is a low, flat 0.8-square-kilometre island in the Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar . There are no harbours or anchorages and access by sea is difficult. The island has a 1,200-metre airstrip. It is a French territory...

    , currently in French possession
  • Chagos Archipelago
    Chagos Archipelago
    The Chagos Archipelago , is a group of seven atolls comprising more than 60 individual tropical islands in the Indian Ocean; situated some due south of the Maldives archipelago. This chain of islands are the southernmost archipelago of the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge a long submarine mountain range...

    , currently a British possession as the British Indian Ocean Territory
    British Indian Ocean Territory
    The British Indian Ocean Territory or Chagos Islands is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom situated in the Indian Ocean, halfway between Africa and Indonesia...

     (BIOT)

Economy

Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

-based economy to a middle-income diversified economy with growing industrial, financial, and tourist
Tourism in Mauritius
Tourism in Mauritius tends to be high end tourism, with a focus on coastal resorts and diving.- Tourist numbers :In the past thirty years, Mauritius has developed from a low-income economy based on agriculture to a middle-income diversified economy. Much of this economic growth has been the result...

 sectors. For most of the period, annual growth has been 5-6 percent, far above the sub-Saharan African average. Despite the rapid growth, that growth has been equitable
Equity (economics)
Equity is the concept or idea of fairness in economics, particularly as to taxation or welfare economics. More specifically it may refer to equal life chances regardless of identity, to provide all citizens with a basic minimum of income/goods/services or to increase funds and commitment for...

 and income equality
Economic egalitarianism
Economic egalitarianism is a state of economic affairs in which equality of outcome has been manufactured for all the participants of a society...

 has improved as its Gini coefficient
Gini coefficient
The Gini coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion developed by the Italian statistician and sociologist Corrado Gini and published in his 1912 paper "Variability and Mutability" ....

 fell from 0.457 to 0.389 between 1980 and 2006. This has been reflected in increased life expectancy, lowered infant mortality and improved infrastructure
Infrastructure
Infrastructure is basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise, or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function...

.

Estimated at US$12,356 for 2009 at purchasing power parity
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

 (PPP), Mauritius has the sixth-highest GDP per capita in Africa, behind Seychelles
Seychelles
Seychelles , officially the Republic of Seychelles , is an island country spanning an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, some east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar....

 (US$19,274 at PPP), Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea, officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea where the capital Malabo is situated.Annobón is the southernmost island of Equatorial Guinea and is situated just south of the equator. Bioko island is the northernmost point of Equatorial Guinea. Between the two islands and to the...

 (US$16,853 at PPP), Gabon
Gabon
Gabon , officially the Gabonese Republic is a state in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, and with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. The Gulf of Guinea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean is to the west...

 (US$14,421 at PPP), Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 (US$14,381 at PPP) and Botswana
Botswana
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana , is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as "Batswana" . Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966...

 (US$13,417 at PPP). The economy is mainly dependent on sugarcane plantations, tourism
Tourism in Mauritius
Tourism in Mauritius tends to be high end tourism, with a focus on coastal resorts and diving.- Tourist numbers :In the past thirty years, Mauritius has developed from a low-income economy based on agriculture to a middle-income diversified economy. Much of this economic growth has been the result...

, textiles, and services, but other sectors such as seafood processing, information technology and medical tourism are rapidly developing as well. Mauritius, Libya, and Seychelles are the only three African nations with a "high" Human Development Index
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

 rating. Réunion, as part of France, is not listed by the UN in its Human Development Index ranking.

Mauritius ranks first among all countries in FDI
Foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment or foreign investment refers to the net inflows of investment to acquire a lasting management interest in an enterprise operating in an economy other than that of the investor.. It is the sum of equity capital,other long-term capital, and short-term capital as shown in...

 inflows to India, with cumulative inflows amounting to US$10.98 billion. The top sectors attracting FDI inflows from Mauritius between January 2000 and December 2005 were electrical equipment, telecommunications, fuels, cement and gypsum products and services sector (financial and non-financial).

Sugar cane is grown on about 90% of the cultivated land area and accounts for 25% of export earnings. Mauritius is a good example of a monocrop economy but since it is no more dependent only upon agriculture, using this term would not be apt. However, a record-setting drought severely damaged the sugar crop in 1999. The government's development strategy centres on foreign investment. Mauritius has attracted over 9,000 offshore entities, many aimed at commerce in India and South Africa, while investment in the banking sector alone has reached over $1 billion. Economic performance during the period from 2000 through 2004 combined strong economic growth with unemployment at 7.6% in December 2004. France is the country's biggest trading partner, has close ties with the country, and provides technical assistance in various forms.

Mauritius in 2005 abolished an 80% tax on around 1,850 different types of goods as part of a plan to transform the Indian Ocean island into a duty free "shopping paradise for tourists". Reforms aimed at attracting new business opportunities have also been implemented. However, one of the biggest impediments is the traffic movement between the towns, which is slowing the development of Mauritius. The corporate tax has recently been reduced to 15% to encourage non-resident companies to trade or invest.

Mauritius has achieved successful economic and human development
Human development (humanity)
Human development in the scope of humanity, specifically international development, is an international and economic development paradigm that is about much more than the rise or fall of national incomes. People are the real wealth of nations...

 with a dual-track approach to economic liberalisation, whereby poorer sections of society have participated in its economic growth. The experience of Mauritius has been used, alongside a number of other countries that have adopted a dual-track approach, to highlight the benefits to both economic growth and human development. However, inflation and its impact on living costs remains a major issue. Between 2006 and 2008, the average rate of inflation was 9.1%; between 2007 and 2010, the Consumer Price Index, which gives an idea of the cost of products that are commonly consumed, rose from a yearly average of 103.8 points to 120.2 points.

Currency

The rupee (sign
Currency sign
A currency sign is a graphic symbol used as a shorthand for a currency's name, especially in reference to amounts of money. They typically employ the first letter or character of the currency, sometimes with minor changes such as ligatures or overlaid vertical or horizontal bars...

: ₨; ISO 4217
ISO 4217
ISO 4217 is a standard published by the International Standards Organization, which delineates currency designators, country codes , and references to minor units in three tables:* Table A.1 – Current currency & funds code list...

 code: MUR) is the currency of Mauritius. It is theoretically divided into 100 cents; however, as at October 2011, only 5 and 20 cent coins, are currently in circulation, the latest mintage of these two coins was in 2010. A Half Rupee coin is also in circulation.
The rupee was established by law in 1876 as the local currency of Mauritius. The rupee was chosen due to the massive inflow of Indian rupees following Indian immigration to Mauritius. The Mauritian rupee was introduced in 1877, replacing the Indian rupee, sterling
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

 and the Mauritian dollar
Mauritian dollar
In 1820, in response to a request from the British colony of Mauritius, the imperial government in London struck silver coins in the denominations of 1/4, 1/8, and 1/16 dollars. The dollar unit in question was equivalent to the Spanish dollar and these fractional coins were known as 'Anchor...

, with the Mauritian rupee equal to one Indian rupee or half a Mauritian dollar. The pound was worth 10¼ rupees at that time. The Mauritian currency also circulated in the Seychelles until 1914, when it was replaced by the Seychellois rupee at par. In 1934, a peg to sterling replaced the peg to the Indian rupee, at the rate of 1 rupee = 1 shilling
Shilling
The shilling is a unit of currency used in some current and former British Commonwealth countries. The word shilling comes from scilling, an accounting term that dates back to Anglo-Saxon times where it was deemed to be the value of a cow in Kent or a sheep elsewhere. The word is thought to derive...

 6 pence
Penny
A penny is a coin or a type of currency used in several English-speaking countries. It is often the smallest denomination within a currency system.-Etymology:...

 (the rate at which the Indian rupee was also pegged). This rate, equivalent to 13⅓ rupees = 1 pound, was maintained until 1979.

Tourism

Mauritius is predominantly a holiday destination for beach-resort tourists. It possesses a wide range of natural and man-made attractions, enjoys a sub-tropical climate with clear warm sea waters, attractive beaches, tropical fauna and flora complemented by a multi-ethnic and cultural population that is friendly and welcoming. These tourism assets are, its main strength, especially since they are backed up by well-designed and run hotels, and reliable and operational services and infrastructures. The hosts are being seen product and the "hospitality atmosphere" has more and more as the nucleus of the tourism been receiving increasing attention.

Recreational activities in Mauritius are varied. Water sports are facilitated as the island is surrounded with coral reef, providing relatively shallow and calm water. Activities such as deep-sea fishing, surfing, windsurfing, water-skiing, yachting and submarine rides are available. Although it seldom breaks, Tamarin Bay is one of the world's most famous surfing spots. Land-based leisure activities include golf, tennis, skiing, sky diving, deer hunting, quad (ATV) riding, mountain biking, abseiling
Abseiling
Abseiling , rappelling in American English, is the controlled descent down a rock face using a rope; climbers use this technique when a cliff or slope is too steep and/or dangerous to descend without protection.- Slang terms :...

, zip lining
Zip-line
A zip-line consists of a pulley suspended on a cable mounted on an incline...

, horse riding and trekking.

Transportation

The only available means of inland public transport are taxis and buses. There are 75 km of motorways, 1000 km of main roads, 398 km of other roads with a total of 2066 km. Many roads in Mauritius have only two lanes, often with heavy traffic. At the end of December 2009 there were 366,520 vehicles registered at the National Transport Authority (NTA). The fleet consisted of 45% (165,036) cars and dual purpose vehicles and 42% (152,935) auto/motor cycles. The remaining 13% comprised vans (25,622), lorries and trucks (12,950), buses (2,803) and other vehicles (7,174).

Transport is problematic around Port-Louis due to severe traffic jams, caused by both a lack of planning, and tolerance of hawkers or street vendors who occupy the pavements and streets of the capital.

Transport in Mauritius has been free since July 2005 for students, the disabled and seniors. For tourists, the taxi prices are expensive, especially at night (starting from 400 Mauritian Rupees). Bus fares depend on the trip length.

The main airport is Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport , known as SSR Airport or previously as Plaisance Airport, is an international airport serving the island country of Mauritius. The airport is located at Plaine Magnien, near Plaisance and southeast of Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius...

, the home of the national airline, Air Mauritius
Air Mauritius
Air Mauritius Limited, stylised as Air Mauritius, is the flag carrier of Mauritius. The airline is headquartered at the Air Mauritius Centre in Port Louis, Mauritius. Its main base is Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport...

.

Media and communication

In 1847, Mauritius became the fifth location in the world to issue postage stamp
Postage stamp
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

s. The two types of stamps issued then, known as the Mauritius "Post Office" stamps, consisting of a "Red Penny" and a "Blue Two Pence" denomination, are probably the most famous and valuable stamps in the world.

Music and Folklore

The sega
Sega music
Sega music or Séga is the major music of the Mascarene Islands: Mauritius, Réunion and Rodrigues as well as of the Seychelles. Sega is similar to the Réunionnais music genre maloya. Another form of dance similar to the sega is the Seychellois moutya. Sega music originated among the slave...

is a local folklore music. It has African roots and the main traditional instruments for producing the music are goat-skin percussion instruments called ravanne, the West African Djembe
Djembe
A djembe also known as jembe, jenbe, djbobimbe, jymbe, yembe, or jimbay, or sanbanyi in Susu; is a skin-covered drum meant played with bare hands....

 and metallic clicks using metal triangles
Triangle (instrument)
The triangle is an idiophone type of musical instrument in the percussion family. It is a bar of metal, usually steel but sometimes other metals like beryllium copper, bent into a triangle shape. The instrument is usually held by a loop of some form of thread or wire at the top curve...

. The songs usually describe the miseries of slavery, and is currently used to voice inequalities as felt by the blacks. Men are usually at the instruments while women perform an accompanying dance. The origin of Sega is not completely known however it is likely to have come from West African countries such as Ghana due to the similarities in the music.

Holidays and Festivals

The following festivals are celebrated in Mauritius:
  • Diwali
    Diwali
    Diwali or DeepavaliThe name of the festival in various regional languages include:, , , , , , , , , , , , , popularly known as the "festival of lights," is a festival celebrated between mid-October and mid-December for different reasons...

  • Mahashivratri
  • Christmas
    Christmas
    Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

  • Ugadi
    Ugadi
    Yugadi or Ugadi or "Samvatsradi" , Konkani/Marathi: युगादी yugādi, , formed by sandhi of yuga "age" and ādi "beginning": the beginning of an age) is the New Year's Day for the people of the Deccan region of India. It falls on the different day every year because the Hindu calendar is a lunisolar...

  • Cavadee
    Thaipusam
    Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai . It is celebrated not only in countries where the Tamil community constitutes a majority, but also in countries where Tamil communities are smaller, such as Singapore and Malaysia...

  • Chinese New Year
    Chinese New Year
    Chinese New Year – often called Chinese Lunar New Year although it actually is lunisolar – is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is an all East and South-East-Asia celebration...

  • Père Laval
    Jacques-Désiré Laval
    Jacques-Désiré Laval was a French Roman Catholic priest and missionary to Mauritius...

  • Eid Al-Fitr
    Eid ul-Fitr
    Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...


Literature

Mauritius has generated a diversified literature in French, English and Creole. Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio
Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio
Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio , usually identified as J. M. G. Le Clézio, is a French author and professor. The author of over forty works, he was awarded the 1963 Prix Renaudot for his novel Le Procès-Verbal....

, the 2008 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

, is of Franco-Mauritian
Franco-Mauritian
Franco-Mauritians are people of mainly French origin who reside in Mauritius. They number more than 24,000.-Origins:The first French settlers arrived in Mauritius in 1722, after the previous attempts of settlement by the Dutch had failed, and the island had once again become abandoned...

 origin and lives on the island for part of each year.

Cuisine

The cuisine of Mauritius is a blend of Indian, African, Chinese and European influences. It is common for a combination of cuisines to form part of the same meal.

The production of rum
Rum
Rum is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane by-products such as molasses, or directly from sugarcane juice, by a process of fermentation and distillation. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually aged in oak barrels...

, which is made from sugar cane, is widespread on the island. Sugarcane was first introduced to Mauritius by the Dutch in 1638. The Dutch mainly cultivated sugarcane for the production of "arrack", a precursor to rum. However, it was during the French and British administrations that sugar production was fully exploited. Pierre Charles François Harel was the first to propose the concept of local distillation of rum in Mauritius, in 1850. Beer is also produced on the Island, by the Phoenix Brewery
Phoenix Beverages
Phoenix Beverages is the largest brewery in Mauritius. Their Phoenix Beer is widely distributed on the island. The company also has connections with the Guinness Brewery.-Phoenix Beer:...

.

Sports

Due to lack of funding and a local culture that values academic achievement over other activities, Mauritius' national sports teams have not been very successful at a competitive level. The most popular sport in Mauritius is football and the national team is the Club M
Mauritius national football team
The Mauritius national football team, nicknamed Club M, is the national team of Mauritius and is controlled by the Mauritius Football Association.-Early years:...

, however most inhabitants prefer to watch European championships rather than local football which saw a rapid decline in the year 2000 after the government changed its regional policies due to hooliganism, which proved effective in decreasing violence between supporters but costly to the popularity of the game.

However Mauritius is quite competitive at regional level in the Indian Ocean. Mauritius collected some golds, silver and bronze medals in the Indian Ocean Island Games
Indian Ocean Island Games
The Indian Ocean Island Games is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from Indian Ocean islands. The Games was adopted by the International Olympic Committee in 1976 and currently gather the islands of Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros, Madagascar, Mayotte, Réunion and the...

. The second (1985) and fifth editions (2003) were hosted by Mauritius.

At Beijing 2008
2008 Summer Olympics
The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, was a major international multi-sport event that took place in Beijing, China, from August 8 to August 24, 2008. A total of 11,028 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees competed in 28 sports and 302 events...

, Mauritius has won its first Olympic medal: boxer Bruno Julie
Bruno Julie
Bruno Julie is a bantamweight boxer from Mauritius who won a number of medals in international tournaments and competed in the 2008 Olympics when he won the first-ever Olympic medal for the island of Mauritius-Career:...

 won the bronze medal. Mauritius has also been successful in athletics with sprinter Stéphan Buckland reaching the final of the 200 m race in the 2004 summer Olympics
2004 Summer Olympics
The 2004 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, was a premier international multi-sport event held in Athens, Greece from August 13 to August 29, 2004 with the motto Welcome Home. 10,625 athletes competed, some 600 more than expected, accompanied by 5,501 team...

.

The national sport, however, remains horseracing, which is part and parcel of the island's cultural heritage. Horseracing in Mauritius dates to 1812, when the Champ de Mars Racecourse
Champ de Mars Racecourse
The Champ de Mars Racecourse is a race track in Port Louis, Mauritius, for thoroughbred horse races located close to the center of the city, at the Mauritius Turf Club ....

 was inaugurated, making it the oldest racecourse in the Southern Hemisphere. Eight races are held every Saturday from March to December afternoon at the Champ de Mars Racecourse in Port Louis
Port Louis
-Economy:The economy is dominated by its port, which handles Mauritius' international trade. The port was founded by the French who preferred Port Louis as the City is shielded by the Port Louis/Moka mountain range. It is the largest container handling facility in the Indian Ocean and can...

.

See also

  • Islets of Mauritius
    Islets of Mauritius
    The Islets of Mauritius includes nearly a hundred tiny islets and rocks scattered around the coast of Mauritius as well as Rodrigues.- Île aux Cerfs :...



External links

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