History in Brief
Mauritius was first discovered by the Moors. This is corroborated by the earliest existing historical evidence of an island, now known as Mauritius, which is on a map produced by the Italian cartographer Alberto Cantino in 1502. Cantino shows three islands that are thought to represent the Mascarenes (Réunion, Mauritius and Rodrigues) and calls them Dina Margabin, Dina Arobi, and Dina Moraze. The medieval Arab world called the Indian Ocean island region Waqwaq.
1511 - Portuguese - First Europeans to land on the Island around 1511. Don Pedro Mascarenhas gave the name of Mascarene (Ilhas Mascarenhas) to the group of Islands now known as Mauritius, Rodrigues and Reunion.
1598-1710 - A Dutch squadron named the Island Mauritius in honour of Prince Maurice Van Nassau of Holland
1715-1810 - The French period - A French Colony – Isle de France – they constructed many of our heritage buildings
1810-1968 - The British captured the Island – Mauritius regained its former name and they introduced the respect of customs, laws, tradition, and language, the abolition of slavery and the cultivation of sugar cane.
12 March 1968 was achieved, and we became a Republic on 12 March 1992
Mauritius gained its independence on 12 March 1968 and the constitution was amended to make the Country a Republic on the same date in 1992. The national flag of Mauritius was adopted upon independence. It consists of four horizontal bands of equal width, coloured red, blue, yellow, and green, Red represents the struggle for freedom and independence, Blue represents the Indian Ocean, in the middle of which Mauritius, Yellow represents the new light of independence. IT is also known as the Four Bands and Les Quatre Bandes. The flag was recorded at the College of Arms in London on 9 January 1968. "Motherland" is the national anthem of Mauritius. The music was composed by Philippe Gentil and the lyrics were written by Jean-Georges Prosper. The anthem describes the luscious landscape of Mauritius. It also mentions the qualities of its people: peace, justice, and liberty.
The island had for a long time remained unknown and uninhabited. The known history of Mauritius begins with its discovery by Arabs, followed by Europeans and its appearance on maps in the early 16th century. The Portuguese were the first European to land on the island at around 1511. Don Pedro Mascarene gave the name Mascarenes to the group of islands now known as Mauritius, Rodrigues, and Reunion.
In 1598, a Dutch squadron, named the island "Mauritzius", in honour of Stadhouder Prince Maurice Van Nassau of Holland. The first Dutch settlement lasted twenty years. They are remembered for the introduction of sugar-cane, domestic animals and deer from Java. The Dutch are unfortunately considered mainly responsible for the extinction of the dodo, a bird unique to Mauritius and for the exploitation of the indigenous forests, especially ebony.
Abandoned by the Dutch in 1710, the island became a French colony in 1715. The island was named "Isle de France" by Captain Guillaume Dufresne d'Arsel in the name of the King of France. The first settlers lived in primitive huts covered with palm leaves built on a site known today as Company's Garden. Under the French occupation, Bertrand-François Mahé de Labourdonnais built Port Louis and settlement began on a more permanent basis. Mahé de La Bourdonnais planted spices such as pepper, cinnamon and cloves at "Jardin Pamplemousses". Mahé de La Bourdonnais established Port Louis as a naval base and a shipbuilding centre. Numerous buildings were built, a number of which are still standing today - part of Government House, the Chateau de Mon Plaisir at Pamplemousses and the Line Barracks. This is the time when slave labour was brought in through trading with the Portuguese in Mozambique and by sending expeditions to the African coastal regions. In 1806 the Governor-General, Charles Mathieu Isidore Decaen, created the city of Mahébourg, named in honour of Mahé de La Bourdonnais. It was originally known as Bourg Mahé.
In August 1810 a strong British expedition was sent to capture the island but failed. It was the first French naval victory over the British rivals. There is an inscription on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris in commemoration of the victory of the 8 days of battle off Grand Port Harbour. A few months later, in December 1810, another strong British squadron disembarked in the north of the Island (Cap Malheureux) and defeated the French. "Isle de France" regained its former name `Mauritius'. French institutions, including the Napoleonic code of law, were maintained. The French language was at that moment still used more widely than English. The British abolished slavery and this had important repercussions on the socio-economic and demographic fields. The planters turned to India, from where they brought a large number of indentured labourers to work in the sugar cane fields. Cultivation of sugar cane was given a boost and the island flourished, especially with the export of sugar to England. The first immigrants from China arrived in 1826.
On 12 March 1968, the country became an independent state and on 12 March 1992 became a Republic.
North, South, East or West – Where to stay?
The North is full of bustling energy. There are interesting shops, a fantastic selection of water sports and Grand Baie is a popular village with lots of restaurants; somewhat of a tourist hub.
The South is less crowded. It is known for its rough seas, waterfalls, cliffs and a few beaches.
The East is known for its gorgeous untamed coast of Belle Mare, something special for romantic couples as well as active families. Stunning scenery, remarkable beaches and exquisite hotels are the reasons this area is often busy.
The West is great for diving and its spectacular sunsets! Mauritius' west coast has stunning beaches and there’s something for everyone; from romantic restaurants, luxury resorts and impeccable beaches to excellent places to party and a myriad of exciting activities to try.
It’s Culture - ‘Awaken to a different world’
Here you will find the whole world on one island. Mauritius is today a unique mosaic of ethnicity, language, and culture. The island enjoys a degree of social harmony and cultural understanding that makes it a model for successfully promoting the benefits of ethnic diversity and co-existence.
Traditions and Festivals – ‘A nation's culture resides in the hearts of its people’
The main festivals and religious events celebrated in Mauritius are Cavadee, Chinese Spring Festival, Christmas, Divali, Ganga Snan, Easter, Assumption, Eid-ul-Fitr, Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi, MahaShivaratree, Père Laval Pilgrimage, and Ugadi. Here you will find Hindu temples, Tamil Kovils, churches, mosques, Chinese pagodas and Buddhist temples all around Mauritius, exalting the universal message of peace and harmony. We love guests to feel and experience these unique journeys and discover Mauritian traditions and festivals.
The Must-See places - ‘Adventure awaits, go find it’
Let us guide you around the right places on the island. You will discover what makes this tiny country such a perfect holiday destination.
Besides its beaches and the numerous shades of turquoises of the lagoons and white reefs, Mauritius has so much to explore.
It is the perfect destination for nature and hiking lovers with a natural unspoiled environment. One perfect spot is ’Le Morne Brabant’, a mountain that rises more than half a mile above sea level and was named a Cultural Heritage. For the nature lovers “Black River Gorges National Park“, is among the most beautiful part of the island where you’ll find miles of trails. With acres of undulating valleys, plunging waterfalls and thick green forest you will be discovering nature at its best.
Other places you should not miss are the spectacular craters such as the ‘Grand Bassin’ or the ‘Trou aux Cerfs’. Unique and wonderful you’ll discover the history of our inactive volcano and connect with the Hindu Religion in the Ganges River through a time of dedication to cultural rituals.
Apart from these, you will find delicious street food and Authentic Creole cuisine around the island. We won’t fail to drive you to Port Louis having the best selection of favourite local snacks, with our famous dhal puri or roti and the different snacks known as gadjak here.
We will be guiding you from the recreational options and cultural depths to the history and typical Mauritian products.
Get ready to learn everything about Mauritius!
It’s People – ‘The soul of Mauritius’
The beauty of Mauritius lies in the warmth of its people. The authentic Mauritian smile and the richness of its people is the essence of Mauritius. Mauritians are known for their legendary hospitality, friendly and helpful attitude towards foreigners on holidays. The people of Mauritius are descendants of European (mostly French) settlers, the Franco-Mauritians; African slaves and creoles, the Afro-Mauritians; Chinese traders, the Sino-Maurtians; and Indian labourers, the Indo-Mauritians.
Meet the locals well known for their hospitality through our guided tours and share some unique exchanges and memories which will last a lifetime.
Mauritius enjoys a mild tropical maritime climate throughout the year. The country has two seasons: a warm humid summer from November to April and a relatively cool dry winter from June to September. The months of October and May are commonly known as the transition months. The average temperature in Summer is around 25˚C and in Winter it is 20˚C, very little difference between the two.
The warmest months are usually January and February reaching 30˚C during the day and the coolest months are July and August when the night temperature can drop to around 16˚C.
The wettest months are February and March. The driest month is October. Although there is no marked rainy season, most of the rainfall occurs in our summer months.
Mauritius Language and Currency
You will find a variety of languages in Mauritius reflecting the diverse and exciting range of cultures that have come together on the Island. The most prominent languages you’ll hear are Mauritian Creole, French and English. Mauritian Creole is a French-based Creole and estimated to be spoken by around 90% of the population. French is the language that tends to be used in education and media, while English is the official language in Parliament, however, members can still speak French. For government administration and the business of courts, French and English are generally accepted as the official languages.
The Mauritian Rupee is the currency of Mauritius. The currency rankings show that the most popular Mauritius Rupee exchange rate is the USD to MUR rate. The currency code for Rupees is MUR, and the currency symbol is ₨.
Mauritius Rupee notes come in the following denominations: 2000, 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50 and 25 rupees notes.