Mauritius

Country Code: 230
ISO Code: MUS / MU

Mauritius, officially the Republic of Mauritius (in English: Republic of Mauritius, in French: République de Maurice, in Mauritian Creole: Repiblik Moris) – is an island sovereign country located in the southwest of the Indian Ocean, about 900 kilometers from Toamasina, city on the closest eastern coast of Madagascar and approximately 3,800 kilometers southwest of Cape Comorin at the southern tip of India. Its most populated capital and locality is Port Louis.

ETIMOLOGY

In addition to the island of Mauritius, the republic includes the islands of San Brandón or Cargados Carajos, Rodrigues and the Agalega Islands. Mauritius is part of the Mascarene Islands, next to the French island of Réunion, about 170 kilometers to the southwest.

HISTORY

While the great knowledge of the Arab and Malaysian sailors on Mauritius was given since the 10th century, the Portuguese arrived in 1505. The island remained uninhabited until 1638 when it was colonized by the Dutch. They named the island in honor of Prince Maurice of Nassau. Due to climatic changes, cyclones and the deterioration of fertile soil, the Dutch left the island a few decades later. The French controlled the island during the 18th century and named it Île de France (Isle of France).

Despite winning the famous Battle of Grand-Port, which began on August 23, 1810, in which the French naval forces commanded by Commodore Guy-Victor Duperré defeated the British forces commanded by Nesbit Willoughby, the French were defeated by the British in the north of the island, in Cap Malheureux, a month later, and on December 6, 1810, Mauricio capitulated before Vice Admiral Albemarle Bertie. This meant the loss of possession in favor of the British and the subsequent reversion of the island to its old name.

Independence was achieved in 1968. The country became a republic within the Commonwealth in 1992. Mauritius has been a stable democracy with regular free elections with a positive record of respect for human rights and has attracted considerable foreign investment achieving one of the highest per capita income in Africa.

Mauritius aims to be the Indian Ocean business connector. New business opportunities are currently being sought in banking and the technology sector, as well as being one of the most beautiful islands on the continent.

ECONOMY

Since his independence in 1968, Mauricio has known a brilliant evolution. The island went from being a country with low resources and income per capita, in which the economy was based on agriculture, to be a country with the status of an emerging country and of constant development, with intermediate incomes and in which the economy diversified rests on an industrial and financial sector in full growth, without forgetting the nascent tourism industry. During this period of economic growth, the country grew at a rate of 5 to 6% per year. This result translates into a significant improvement in the quality of life and a significant increase in life expectancy, a drop in infant mortality and a great infrastructural development.

Sugarcane constitutes 90% of the crops and represents 25% of exports. A historical drought severely damaged the 1999 harvest. The development strategy carried out by the government focuses on foreign investment. Mauritius has attracted some 9,000 offshore companies, of which the majority are engaged in trade in India and South Africa. In the banking sector investments have been made for more than one billion dollars. The issuance of stamps for collections is also a source of income.

DEMOGRAPHY

According to 2012 estimates, the population of the island amounted to 1.313.095 inhabitants. Mauritius is probably the most multicultural island in the Indian Ocean. There are descendants of people from South Asia (mainly Indians), Africa (mainly from Madagascar), France, England, China, and other places. The official language in Mauritius for business and economic activities is English. However, it is French and Creole (a mixture of French and other African languages) the languages with which the population communicates.

Almost half of the population practices Hinduism; Other important religions in Mauritius are: Catholicism, Islam and Protestant churches. According to data from 2012, five of the most populated towns in Mauritius exceed 75,000 residents. These are: Port Louis, the capital and most populous city (158 965 inhabitants), Beau-Bassin Rose-Hill (112 215 inhabitants), Vacoas-Phoenix (108 103 inhabitants), Curepipe (85 259 inhabitants) and Quatre Bornes (81 979 inhabitants).

CULTURE

Mauritius’s mixed colonial past is reflected in its culture. For example, Mauritian cuisine is a mix of Desi, Creole, Chinese and European.

In 1847 Mauritius was the fifth country in the world to issue postage stamps. The two types of stamps issued that year, known as Red Penny and Blue Penny, are probably the most famous in the world, very rare and consequently, very expensive.

The islands of Mauritius, when discovered, were home to an unknown species of bird, which the Portuguese called “Dodo” (fool), since they did not seem very intelligent. By 1681 all the dodos had been exterminated by the shepherds or their domestic animals. Despite this, the dodo is one of the prominent figures in the coat of arms of the country.

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