MAURITIUS

Date of establishment: March 12, 1968

Brief history:

  • 16th century: The island of Mauritius was first discovered by Europeans in 1507 by the Portuguese navigator Dom Afonso de Albuquerque – it remained uninhabited until the arrival of the Dutch in 1598.
  • 17th century: The Dutch established a colony, but later the island’s population was exterminated and the colony abandoned.
  • 18th century: The French attempted to settle the island in 1715, naming it after the Duke of Mauritius. French rule lasted until 1810, when the island was conquered by the British Empire during the Napoleonic Wars.
  • 19th century: The British made Mauritius a British colony and introduced a labor contract system for immigrants from India and Africa, which meant the arrival of large numbers of people from different cultures.
  • 20th Century: In 1968, the island was officially declared an independent state under the leadership of the first Prime Minister, Seewoosagur Ramgoolam.
  • Later 20th century: Mauritius gradually developed into a prosperous economy, mainly through tourism, textiles, and financial services. The country has also become known for its political stability and democratic system.

 

International abbreviation: MT

 

Currency: Mauritian rupee MUR

The Mauritian rupee is divided into smaller units called cents.

 

Internet domain: .mt

 

Dialing code: +230

 

Time zone: GMT +4

 

Geography:

An island nation in the Indian Ocean, about 2 000 km (1 243 miles) southeast of the African continent, east of Madagascar. It consists of the main island of Mauritius, the islands of Rodrigues and Saint Brandon, and the Agaléga Islands. The islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues, together with nearby Réunion, are part of the Mascarene Islands.

 

Highest peak: Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire 828 m (2 717 feet) above sea level.

This peak is volcanic, located in the central part of the island and forms part of the Black River range. Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire is also an important place for nature conservation – a nature reserve was established here to protect endemic plant species and rare fauna.

 

Climate:

Summer season (November to April): the summer season is hot, humid, and rainy. Temperatures are around 25-33 degrees Celsius (77-91 degrees Fahrenheit). This period is also the season for tropical cyclones, which are strong storms with high rainfall and strong winds.

Winter season (May to October): the winter season is drier and milder. Temperatures drop to 18-24 degrees Celsius (64-75 degrees Fahrenheit). This period is suitable to visit as the weather is more stable and there are no cyclones. The winter season is also suitable for water sports such as diving and snorkeling due to better visibility below the surface.

The sea temperature remains relatively warm throughout the year. During the summer, the sea temperature can reach around 27-29 degrees Celsius (81-84 degrees Fahrenheit), while in the winter it drops to 23-25 degrees Celsius (73-77 degrees Fahrenheit).

The country has many sunny days throughout the year, making the island a popular tourist destination.

 

Fauna and flora:

Mauritius was once home to many endemic bird species, but unfortunately some of them became extinct after the arrival of Europeans. Surviving species include the Mauritius cuckoo shrike, Mauritius kestrel and Mauritius fody. The island is home to several species of endemic lizards, including the Mauritius ornate day gecko.

The hawksbill turtle was on the verge of extinction, but efforts are underway to save it and breed it in captivity. Around Mauritius you can observe different species of dolphins and whales.

It has many endemic plant species found nowhere else in the world. These include, for example, various types of orchids, bromeliads and lataniers.

The island has a rich vegetation that includes trees such as black ebony, Bois de Natte, and various types of palm trees.

 

Agriculture:

Sugar cane has been a traditional Mauritian crop for a long time. Sugar is the main export product and sugar factories are located all over the island. It is also known for its coffee and tea production. There are coffee plantations in the highlands of Chamarel.

Many types of fruit are grown in Mauritius, including pineapples, papayas, bananas, mangoes, citrus, and other tropical crops. A variety of vegetables are grown, including potatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, and beans.

Due to its climate, the country has suitable conditions for growing various types of flowers and plants, such as orchids, roses and other flowers that are exported abroad.

Due to the rich sea waters in the vicinity, fish, shrimp, and other seafoods are caught here in abundance, which are intended for both the local market and for export.

 

Extraction of raw materials:

Mauritius is not known for its mining of raw materials.

Sand and gravel extraction does take place. Raw materials are used in construction projects such as roads, buildings, and coastal protection. Mining of these materials is carried out with respect to environmental protection and sustainable development. The island is of volcanic origin, and stone is obtained for construction and road maintenance.

 

Industry:

Textiles and clothing is one of the main industries. The country is known for its production of quality textiles and clothing, which are exported to various parts of the world.

It also has a developed food industry, which includes the production of food products for both local and international markets. Sugar production has an important place in this industry.

The electronics industry is gradually developing. New roads, buildings, airports, and other infrastructure projects are being built.

 

Services and other areas of the economy: tourism, finance, and air and sea transport

 

Natural and historical attractions: Eureka, Port Louis, Le Morne Brabant peninsula, Le Pouce and Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire mountains, beaches, and the Chamarel area

Mauritius is famous for its white sandy beaches and azure sea. Tourists go there to relax, sunbathe, and engage in water activities such as snorkeling, diving, surfing, and fishing.

The country has a rich cultural history associated with various ethnic groups, including Creoles, Indians, Chinese, and French. Tourists can visit various museums, monuments, and markets to learn about the local culture and traditions.

Mauritius offers wonderful natural scenery, including the Black River Gorges National Park, where you can explore rainforests, waterfalls, and hiking trails. It has several world-class golf courses that attract golfers from all over the world.

Mauritian cuisine is diverse and influenced by different cultures. Tourists can taste a variety of traditional dishes, including curries, fish dishes, and exotic fruits.

 

Waterparks in Mauritius:

 

Form of government: parliamentary republic

The constitution of Mauritius is built on democratic principles and respects the principles of the rule of law. The president is the head of state and also commander-in-chief of the armed forces. He/she is elected for a five-year term and can be re-elected for a maximum of one more term.

Executive power is exercised by the prime minister, who is the head of government. The prime minister is the leader of the parliamentary majority and appointed by the president. The legislative body is a unicameral parliament, called the National Assembly, which has 70 members elected for five-year terms.

The judiciary is independent and includes various instances. The Supreme Court is the highest court and oversees compliance with the constitution and legal order.

The country respects human rights and civil liberties. It is a member of various international organizations and agreements that guarantee the protection of human rights.

 

Capital city: Port Louis

The city is located on the northwest coast of the island and is the economic, cultural, and administrative center of the country.

Port Louis was founded in 1735 by French Governor Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais as a port and military fortress. The city was named after King Louis XV. It was later controlled by the British colonial government.

 

Area: 2 040 km2 (788 square miles)

 

Population: 1 270 000 (2019)

The population is very diverse and includes various ethnic groups that have immigrated to the country throughout history. Creoles are descendants of African slaves who were brought to the island during the slavery period. Indians form another significant ethnic group and are descendants of Indian contract workers. The Chinese also came to Mauritius as workers. Mauritius was a former French colony and therefore still has a French community.

There is religious diversity. Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam are the main religions. There is also a community of people who practice Buddhism and others. The official languages are English and French, but Creole, Hindi, Urdu, and Chinese are also commonly used.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 2

 

  1. Aapravasi Ghat (2006) – Hostels for Indian seasonal workers used by the British government to replace slave labor. Between 1834 and 1920, almost half a million people passed through them.
  2. Le Morne (2008) – A mountain that juts out of the Indian Ocean in the southwest of Mauritius, which was used as a refuge for runaway slaves during the 18th and 19th centuries.

 

National parks: 3

 

  1. Black River Gorges National Park
  2. Bras d’Eau National Park
  3. Islet National Park