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Mauritius At A Glance


Mauritius
Mauritius was named after the Dutch Prince Maurice Van Nassau.
Capital
Port Louis
Location
Latitude 20º south of the equator, Longitude 57.5º east
Area
2040 km sq
Population
1.2 million including Rodrigues and outer islands
Time
+4 hours Greenwich Mean Time ,+3 hours mid-European time.
Geography
The white beaches are protected by coral reef almost all around except for the southern coast that offers wilder strands or dramatic cliffs. From the northern plains, the land rises to a central plateau dotted by lakes and extinct volcanic craters. A few uninhabited islets area scattered around the main island.
Climate
Season :
Month :
Temperature:
Summer
November - April
23ºc to 33ºc
Winter
May - October
17ºc to 23ºc.

Occasional Cyclones:
Wettest months: December to March
Annual Rainfall:
900 mm on the coast
1500 mm on the central plateau
Sea Temperature
22ºc to 27ºc.
History

9th century
Arabs Discovered Mauritius
16th century
Portuguese Visited Mauritius
1598
The Dutch who were the first to colonise Mauritius, named it after their ruler, Prince Maurice Van Nassau
Ebony forests were destroyed by overexploitation and the dodo was exterminated. It later became the symbol of endangered animal species and conservation worldwide
1710
Dutch Left Mauritius
1715
French took possession of the island and re-named it 'Isle de France'.
1721
Governor Mahe de Labourdonnais founded Port Louis, which later became the capital.
He turned the island into a prosperous French colony and a port of call on the sea journey from Europe to the Far- East round the Cape of Good Hope. He established Port Louis as a naval base and built roads and bridges. Among his other achievements, one can mention the Government House, the Line Barracks, and Chateau Mon Plaisir at Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens. Nowadays, Labourdonnais statue still stands guard facing Port Louis harbour
1810
Major naval battle took place in Grand Port on the south-east coast of the island. It was the only naval battle won by Napoleon, and is thus, duly engraved on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. However, three months later, the British launched a surprise attack from the north of the island and the French governor General Charles Decaen surrendered.
1814
The 1814 Treaty of Paris ratified the cession of Mauritius and its dependencies, Rodrigues and Seychelles, to the British. But Réunion Island, which was also captured by the British, was returned to France
The island took its former name of Mauritius, and English became the official language. However, according to the Treaty of Paris, the population was to keep its language, its religion and its laws. This is the reason why French is still widely spoken despite the fact that the British ruled the island for 158 years.
1835
British Abolished Slavery
As the newly freed slaves refused to work in the plantations, indentured labourers were brought in from India. Chinese and Muslim traders were also attracted to these shores. Hence the melting pot which now constitutes the population of Mauritius.
1968
Mauritius gained its Independence
Sir Seewosagur Ramgoolam became the first Prime Minister.
Mauritius still forms part of the British Commonwealth and follows the Westminster pattern of Government
1992
Mauritius became a Republic.
Languages
English is the official language. French and Creole are commonly used.
Hindi & Bhojpuri are also spoken.
Many hotel employees are fluent in German, Italian and Spanish.
The Mauritian literacy rate hovers around 90%.
Government
Democratic state based on the Westminster model.
62 Members of Parliament elected every 5 years.
The President is the head of the state but constitutional power is vested in the Prime Minister and the Cabinet



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