History of Mauritius

The beautiful island paradise known as Mauritius is located in the Indian Ocean between Africa and Asia and about 500 miles off the coast of Madagascar has a very rich and storied history to be sure.

The Size

This tiny island measuring only 28 miles across by about 40 miles wide has been an important part of history in many respects.

It’s Discovery

While the island was first discovered by the Arabs and then the Portuguese in the early 1500’s it was not until the Dutch accidentally stumbled onto the island chain now known as the Mascarenes that the island became a destination for stopovers for fleets on long journeys from Europe.

The Dutch

In the mid 1600’s the Dutch decided to colonize the island and sent a garrison of 25 led by Cornelius Gooyer to do just that.

The Dutch lasted until the early 1700’s when they decided to abandon the island after many years of hardship for its inhabitants and the French officially took over in 1715.

The French

The French ruled the island and used it as a base of attack against the British Empire during the Napoleonic Wars until the British launched a full-scale attack and overtook the island by force in 1810. At that time the island had been named the “Isle de France” but was renamed Mauritius during negotiations of the “Treaty of France” in 1814.

The British

The British ruled the island unit it gained its independence in 1968 with the British Monarchy still as the nominal head of State.

A New Beginning

It would not be until 1991 that the island would decide to become a Republic within the Commonwealth and in 1992 the monarchy was abolished and the last Governor- General, Mr. Veerasamy Ringadoo became the interim President of the island.

The island has enjoyed free and fair elections since that time.