History of Mauritius

Mauritius is strategically located in the Indian Ocean, about 2,000 kilometres off the south eastern coast of Africa and is situated in an ideal time zone (GMT+4)

The island was first discovered by the Arabs during the 10th century. The first Europeans to have visited Mauritius were the Portuguese in the year 1510. The Dutch who settled in the island in 1598 named it Mauritius after Prince Maurice of Nassau. Among other things, the Dutch introduced sugar cane and the Java deer before leaving in 1710.

About five years later, in 1715, the French occupied the island, renaming it “Isle de France”. A harbour was built and named Port Louis, after the ruling king Louis XV. Port Louis became the capital of Mauritius.

In 1810, the British took over the island and renamed it Mauritius. The British abolished slavery in 1835 and brought labour from India and China to further develop the island and especially work in the fields.

Mauritius was granted independence on 12 March 1968 and became a republic on 12 March 1992 although it remained a member of the Commonwealth.