History of Mauritius

Overview

  • Geography

Mauritius is an island located in the Indian Ocean. It is situated some 2,000 km off the south-eastern coast of Africa. The island is of volcanic origin and covers an area of approximately 1,865 sq km.

  • Time zone

With GMT +4, Mauritius is able to make same-day transactions with the US, through Europe, the Middle-East and Austral Asia. Mauritius is evolving into a major international business platform in this region of the world.

  • Climate

Mauritius has a sub-tropical climate. As it is from volcanic origin, its central plateau is about 400 m above sea level. The summer season starts from October to May with temperatures averaging 27°C. During the winter period, temperatures average around 22°C. The central plateau is more humid and cooler than the coastal regions.

  • Population

The estimated population is about 1.2 million with approximately 611 people per square kilometer.

The population roots come mainly from the European and African continents, as well as India and China.

  • Language

The official language is English but the most daily spoken languages are French and Creole. There are also many oriental languages such as Hindi, Mandarin and Urdu spoken and taught at school.

  • Religion

Christianism, Muslim and Hinduism and old Chinese customs are the main religions on the island.

  • History

Discovered by the Portuguese in 1505, the Dutch were the first settlers and they named the island same as their ruler, Prince Maurice van Nassau. After the Dutch left, the island was then discovered by the French and later fell under the control of the British from 1810 until independence was attained in 1968.

  • Political Structure

Mauritius is a democratic country where the President is the Head of State and the Prime Minister, the Head of Government. The Members of Parliament are elected every five years by popular vote. The Constitution is established from the Westminster Parliamentary model.

  • Legal System

The legal system of Mauritius is a mixture of both civil and common law and there is a right of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.

The private law is mainly based on the Napoleonic Code whereas the public and administrative law draws is based on the English common law.

  • Economy

The Mauritian economy is one of the fastest growing in sub-Saharan Africa. In just three decades, the country has shifted from a mono-crop sugar-dominated economy to being more services oriented. The tertiary sector currently contributes to 70% of GDP.

Today, the island aims to become the business hub of the Indian Ocean and a major access to Eastern and Southern Africa.

  • Communications and transport

The country telephone code is +230, with no area codes. Mauritius has a well-developed network of internal and external communications. It also have an extensive and well maintained road infrastructure; a modern and efficient port capable of berthing vessels up to 100 metres; a web of sea links and direct air connections with several cities around the world; high band fibre cable connectivity; a reliable fixed and mobile telephone network; express courier service providers and freight forwarders; fully serviced business and industrial parks; a free port; well-equipped and comfortable offices.

  • Currency

The currency used in Mauritius is the Mauritian Rupee (Rs). Travellers cheques can be exchanged at hotels, banks and authorised dealers in foreign currency. Travellers cheques in Pounds Sterling and French Euro are preferred. Credit cards, such as Visa, Access MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club are accepted.

 

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