The short story of Mauritius

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Once upon a time… a very long time ago…


 In 1502, the Arabs discovered, quite by chance, three islands which will represent the Mascarenes; Réunion, Mauritius and Rodrigues. They will call Maurice, Dinarobin, which means Silver Island. They put the island on the map of the world and go their way.


A few years later, in 1507, the Portuguese, deviating from their route to the island of Ceylon and South – East Asia and by the force of destiny, discovered Mauritius that they will call Cirne or the island. Swan. (probably because they found there the shape of a swan). But again, the Portuguese showed no interest in the island.


In 1598, eight Dutch ships on an expedition to the Indian subcontinent were separated after crossing the Cape of Good Hope. Three of them found refuge in Madagascar and the rest sailed directly to Mauritius where due to bad weather, they had to land. They named the island, Prins Mauritz van Nassaueiland in reference to their Prince Maurits, of the house of Nassau, and their main vessel the “Mauritius”. From that moment, the island was used by the Dutch as a stopover. They destroyed much of the ebony forest to be able to introduce Java sugar cane. In 1615, the sinking and the death of Governor Pieter Both (a mountain overlooking Port Louis, named after him), led the Dutch sailors to regard the road as cursed and avoided it as much as possible. The island was definitively abandoned in 1710, because of difficulties such as cyclones, droughts, infestations of rats, lack of food (yes, they ate all our dodos… ) And diseases.


In 1715, Guillaume Dufresne d’Arsel, accosted and took possession of the island in the name of France and named it “Isle of France”. But it will be Mahe La Bourdonnais in 1735, which will develop the island effectively and give it its importance. It will establish Port Louis as a naval base and the center of shipbuilding. He built the Government House, which you can still see in the center of Port Louis opposite the harbor, the Château de Mon Plaisir in Pamplemousses in the center of the magnificent Pamplemousses Botanical Garden and the barracks.

In 1806, the governor, Charles Mathieu Isidore Decean, created Mahebourg, in honor of Mahé de La Bourdonnais. From this year until 1810, the island was managed by officials appointed by the French government.


In 1810, a strong British expedition was sent to capture the island. The first attempt failed at Grand Port in August of the same year (the victory of the French on the British is carved on the Arc-de-Triomphe in Paris … if you’re lucky, go see). However, the British, with their fighting spirit, returned in December 1810 from Rodrigues, where they had food, water and gained strength. They landed in large numbers in the north of the island and quickly mastered the French. By the treaty of 1814, “Ile de France” was renamed Mauritius and was ceded to Great Britain, as well as Rodrigues and Seychelles. The British guaranteed that they would respect the languages, customs, laws and traditions of the inhabitants.

The British administration began with Robert Townsend Farquhar as governor. One of the most important changes it will bring, was the abolition of slavery, on February 1, 1835. In the 19th century, Indian immigrants arrived via Aapravasi Ghat to work as contract laborers as well as the Chinese, to replace the slaves in the sugar cane fields. The Franco-Mauritian elite had control over almost all major sugar fields.


In 1947, the elections for a newly created Legislative Assembly will mark the first stage of Mauritius towards autonomy. The step towards independence gained momentum after 1961, when the British agreed to allow full autonomy and possible independence. Mauritius will gain independence on March 12, 1968. The last British governor, Sir John Shaw Rennie was the last Governor General until August 1968…

Thus will begin the beautiful story of a small island that is now a republic and known around the world as a paradise on earth… So relax and start your unforgettable stay with us…

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