General Information on Mauritius


Location of Mauritius Mauritius
Island in the Indian Ocean

Although known to Arab and Malay sailors as early as the 10th century, Mauritius was first explored by the Portuguese in the 16th century and subsequently settled by the Dutch - who named it in honor of Prince Maurits van NASSAU - in the 17th century. The French assumed control in 1715, developing the island into an important naval base overseeing Indian Ocean trade, and establishing a plantation economy of sugar cane. The British captured the island in 1810, during the Napoleonic Wars. Independence from the UK was attained on 12 March 1968.  Mauritius became a Republic on 12th March 1992.

Four equal horizontal bands of red, blue, yellow and green. Red represents self-determination and independence, blue the Indian Ocean, yellow has been interpreted as the golden sunshine and green symbolizes agriculture.

Total 2,040 sq km. The main island is of volcanic origin and is almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs. It was home to the dodo, a large flightless bird related to pigeons, driven to extinction by the end of the 17th century through a combination of hunting and the introduction of predatory species.

Warm and dry winter (May to October). Hot, wet and humid summer (November to April). Cyclones occur between November and April.

1,313,095 (July 2012 est)

Indo-Mauritian 68%, Creole 27%, Sino-Mauritian 3%, Franco-Mauritian 2%

English is the official language but French and Creole remain the most commonly spoken languages. Various oriental languages are also spoken

Hindu 48%, Roman Catholic 23.6%, Muslim 16.6%, other Christian 8.6%, other 2.5%, unspecified 0.3%, none 0.4% (2000 census)

Republic of Mauritius

President of the Republic of Mauritius
Her Excellency Mrs. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, GCSK, CSK, PhD

Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius
Sir Anerood Jugnauth GCSK, KCMG, QC

Unicameral National Assembly (70 seats; 62 members elected by popular vote, 8 appointed by the electoral commission to give representation to various ethnic minorities; members to serve five-year terms)

Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a middle-income diversified economy with growing industrial, financial, and tourist sectors. For most of the period, annual growth has been in the order of 5% to 6%. This remarkable achievement has been reflected in more equitable income distribution, increased life expectancy, lowered infant mortality, and a much-improved infrastructure. The economy rests on sugar, tourism, textiles and apparel, and financial services, and is expanding into fish processing, information and communications technology, and hospitality and property development.

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