Its History 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 "Mauritius", 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.
History in Brief
Discovery 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.
2 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.
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’ Mauritius has a rich and diverse culture that reflects its history as a French, British, and Dutch colony, as well as its location at the crossroads of African, Asian, and European influences. One of the most important aspects of Mauritian culture is its food. The island's cuisine is a fusion of different styles and flavors, blending Indian, Chinese, African, and European ingredients and cooking techniques. Some popular Mauritian dishes include biryani, rougaille, dholl puri, and gateaux piments. Music and dance are also important parts of Mauritian culture. Sega music, which originated among the island's slave population, is a lively and rhythmic genre that is still popular today. Seggae, a fusion of Sega and reggae, is another popular style. Traditional Mauritian dances include the sega, the ravanne, and the bhojpuri. There are also many festivals and holidays that are celebrated in Mauritius throughout the year. Some of the most important include Diwali, Eid, Chinese New Year, and the Cavadee festival, which is a Hindu pilgrimage that involves carrying offerings and piercing the skin with needles.
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' Climate Mauritius has a tropical climate, which means that it is warm and humid throughout the year. The average temperature is around 25°C, with the hottest months being January and February. During these months, temperatures can reach up to 35°C. The coolest months are from July to September, with temperatures averaging around 20°C. Mauritius experiences two main seasons: a warm and wet season from November to April, and a cool and dry season from May to October. During the wet season, the island receives an average of 2000mm of rainfall, with the heaviest rainfall occurring in January and February. The dry season, on the other hand, sees much less rainfall, with an average of 100mm per month. Despite the rainfall, Mauritius gets a lot of sunshine, with an average of 7 hours of sunshine per day. The island is sometimes affected by tropical cyclones, which can cause severe damage and flooding. Despite this, the climate in Mauritius is generally pleasant and conducive to outdoor activities.
Mauritius Language and Currency The official currency of Mauritius is the Mauritian rupee (MUR). It is divided into 100 cents and is available in banknotes of 25, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, and 2000 rupees. Coins are available in denominations of 1, 5, 10, and 20 rupees. The Mauritian rupee is widely accepted in hotels, restaurants, and shops on the island. Credit cards are also accepted in many places, but it is always advisable to have cash on hand for small purchases and tips. Exchange bureaus are easily accessible in airports, shopping malls, and banks. It is important to note that foreign currencies are not accepted in the shops and restaurants on the island, so it is recommended to change your money into Mauritian rupees before arriving in Mauritius. Therefore , it is advisable to have mauritius currency during your stay to facilitate your excursions. Overall, the Mauritian rupee is a stable and widely accepted currency that is easy to use on the island. Whether you're using cash or credit, you'll be able to enjoy all that Mauritius has to offer without any issues with currency exchange.