Mauritius

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Republic of Mauritius
République de Maurice  (French)
FlagCoat of arms
Motto: "Stella Clavisque Maris Indici" (Latin)
"Star and Key of the Indian Ocean"
Anthem: Motherland
Islands of the Republic of Mauritius labelled in black, Tromelin and Chagos archipelago are claimed by Mauritius.
Islands of the Republic of Mauritius labelled in black, Tromelin and Chagos archipelago are claimed by Mauritius.
Capital
and largest city
Coat of arms of Port Louis, Mauritius.svg Port Louis
20°10′S 57°31′E / 20.167°S 57.517°E / -20.167; 57.517
Official languagesNonea
Vernacular languages
DemonymMauritian
GovernmentParliamentary republic
 - PresidentKailash Purryag
 - Prime MinisterNavin Ramgoolam
LegislatureNational Assembly
Independence from the United Kingdom
 - Constitution of Mauritius12 March 1968 
 - Republic12 March 1992 
Area
 - Total2,040 km2 (179th)
787 sq mi
 - Water (%)0.07
Population
 - 2013 estimate1,295,789[1] (151st)
 - 2012 census1,291,456[2]
 - Density630/km2 (19th)
1,636.5/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2012 estimate
 - Total$20.200 billion[3]
 - Per capita$15,591[3] (66th)
GDP (nominal)2012 estimate
 - Total$11.466 billion[3]
 - Per capita$8,850[3] (68th)
HDI (2013)Decrease 0.737[4]
high · 80th
CurrencyMauritian rupee (MUR)
Time zoneMUT (UTC+4)
 - Summer (DST)not observed (UTC)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy (AD)
Drives on theleft
Calling code+230
ISO 3166 codeMU
Internet TLD.mu
a.In parliament English is official and French can be used.[5][6]
 
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For other uses, see Mauritius (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Mauritania.

Coordinates: 20°12′S 57°30′E / 20.2°S 57.5°E / -20.2; 57.5

Republic of Mauritius
République de Maurice  (French)
FlagCoat of arms
Motto: "Stella Clavisque Maris Indici" (Latin)
"Star and Key of the Indian Ocean"
Anthem: Motherland
Islands of the Republic of Mauritius labelled in black, Tromelin and Chagos archipelago are claimed by Mauritius.
Islands of the Republic of Mauritius labelled in black, Tromelin and Chagos archipelago are claimed by Mauritius.
Capital
and largest city
Coat of arms of Port Louis, Mauritius.svg Port Louis
20°10′S 57°31′E / 20.167°S 57.517°E / -20.167; 57.517
Official languagesNonea
Vernacular languages
DemonymMauritian
GovernmentParliamentary republic
 - PresidentKailash Purryag
 - Prime MinisterNavin Ramgoolam
LegislatureNational Assembly
Independence from the United Kingdom
 - Constitution of Mauritius12 March 1968 
 - Republic12 March 1992 
Area
 - Total2,040 km2 (179th)
787 sq mi
 - Water (%)0.07
Population
 - 2013 estimate1,295,789[1] (151st)
 - 2012 census1,291,456[2]
 - Density630/km2 (19th)
1,636.5/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2012 estimate
 - Total$20.200 billion[3]
 - Per capita$15,591[3] (66th)
GDP (nominal)2012 estimate
 - Total$11.466 billion[3]
 - Per capita$8,850[3] (68th)
HDI (2013)Decrease 0.737[4]
high · 80th
CurrencyMauritian rupee (MUR)
Time zoneMUT (UTC+4)
 - Summer (DST)not observed (UTC)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy (AD)
Drives on theleft
Calling code+230
ISO 3166 codeMU
Internet TLD.mu
a.In parliament English is official and French can be used.[5][6]

Mauritius (Listeni/məˈrɪʃəs/; French: Maurice), officially the Republic of Mauritius (French: République de Maurice), is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent. The country includes the island of Mauritius, Rodrigues (560 kilometres (350 mi) east), the islands of Agalega and the archipelago of Saint Brandon. The islands of Mauritius, Rodrigues, and Réunion 170 km (110 mi) south west, form part of the Mascarene Islands. The area of the country is 2040 km2. The capital and largest city is Port Louis.

Mauritius claims sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago from the United Kingdom and Tromelin island from France. The United Kingdom excised the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritian territory prior to its independence in 1965, the UK gradually depopulated its indigenous population and leased the biggest island Diego Garcia to the United States who establish a military base on it.

The island of Mauritius was visited during the medieval period by the Arabs and then by the Portuguese, who named it Dina Arobi and Cirne, respectively. The island was uninhabited until the Dutch Republic established a colony in 1638, with the Dutch naming the island after Prince Maurice van Nassau. The Dutch colony was abandoned in 1710, and, five years later, the island became a French colony and was renamed Isle de France. The British took control of Mauritius in 1810 during the Napoleonic Wars. The country remained under British rule until it became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1968, following the adoption of a new constitution. The country became a republic in 1992 and remains in the Commonwealth.

The people of Mauritius are multiethnic and multicultural. Most Mauritians are multilingual, Mauritian Creole, English, French, and Asian languages are used. The island's government is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system, and Mauritius is highly ranked for democracy and for economic and political freedom. Along with the other Mascarene Islands, Mauritius is known for its varied flora and fauna, with many species endemic to the island. The island is particularly known as the only home of the Dodo, which, along with several avian species, was made extinct by human activities relatively shortly after the island's settlement.

Etymology[edit]

The first historical evidence of the existence of an island now known as Mauritius is on a map produced by the Italian cartographer Alberto Cantino in 1502.[7] From this, it appears that Mauritius was first named Dina Arobi during the Middle Ages[when?] by Arab sailors, the first people to visit the island. In 1507 Portuguese sailors visited the uninhabited island. The island appears with a Portuguese name Cirne on early Portuguese maps, probably from the name of a ship in the 1507 expedition. Another Portuguese sailor, Dom Pedro Mascarenhas, gave the name Mascarenes to the Archipelago. In 1598 a Dutch squadron under Admiral Wybrand Van Warwyck landed at Grand Port and named the island Mauritius, in honour of Prince Maurice van Nassau, stadhouder of the Dutch Republic. Later the island became a French colony and was renamed Isle de France. On 3 December 1810 the French surrendered after the Napoleonic Wars. Under British rule, the island's name reverted to Mauritius Listeni/məˈrɪʃəs/. Mauritius is also commonly known as Maurice (pronounced: [mɔˈʁis]) and Île Maurice in French, Moris in creole and मॉरिशस in Hindi.[8]

History[edit]

Main article: History of Mauritius

The island of Mauritius was unknown and uninhabited before its first recorded visit during the Middle Ages by Arab sailors, who named it Dina Arobi. In 1507 Portuguese sailors visited the uninhabited island and established a visiting base. Diogo Fernandes Pereira, a Portuguese navigator, was the first European to land in Mauritius. He named the island 'Ilha do Cirne'. The Portuguese did not stay long as they were not interested in these islands.[8]

In 1598 a Dutch squadron under Admiral Wybrand Van Warwyck landed at Grand Port and named the island "Mauritius" after Prince Maurice van Nassau of the Dutch Republic, the ruler of his country. The Dutch established a small colony on the island in 1638, from which they exploited ebony trees and introduced sugar cane, domestic animals and deer. It was from here that Dutch navigator Abel Tasman set out to discover the western part of Australia. The first Dutch settlement lasted only twenty years. Several attempts were made —subsequently, but the settlements never developed enough to produce dividends and the Dutch abandoned Mauritius in 1710.[8][9]

The Battle of Grand Port, 20–27 August 1810.

France, which already controlled neighbouring Île Bourbon (now Réunion), took control of Mauritius in 1715 and renamed it Isle de France. The 1735 arrival of French governor Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais coincided with development of a prosperous economy based on sugar production. Mahé de La Bourdonnais established Port Louis as a naval base and a shipbuilding centre. Under his governorship, numerous buildings were erected, a number of which are still standing today — these include part of Government House, the Château de Mon Plaisir and the Line Barracks, the headquarters of the police force. The island was under the administration of the French East India Company which maintained its presence until 1767.[8]

From 1767 to 1810, except for a brief period during the French Revolution when the inhabitants set up a government virtually independent of France, the island was controlled by officials appointed by the French Government. Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre visited the island and wrote Paul et Virginie, a successful novel situated on the island. In particular Charles Mathieu Isidore Decaen, a successful General in the French Revolutionary Wars and, in some ways, a rival of Napoléon I, ruled as Governor of Isle de France and Réunion from 1803 to 1810. British naval cartographer and explorer Matthew Flinders was arrested and detained by the General Decaen on the island, in contravention of an order from Napoléon. During the Napoleonic Wars, Mauritius became a base from which French corsairs organised successful raids on British commercial ships.

Further information: Invasion of Isle de France

The raids continued until 1810, when a Royal Navy expedition led by Commodore Josias Rowley, R.N., an Anglo-Irish aristocrat, was sent to capture the island. Despite winning the Battle of Grand Port, the only French naval victory over the British during these wars, the French surrendered to a British invasion at Cap Malheureux three months later. They formally surrendered on 3 December 1810, on terms allowing settlers to keep their land and property and to use the French language and law of France in criminal and civil matters. Under British rule, the island's name reverted to Mauritius.[8]

Champ de Mars, Port Louis, 1880.

The British administration, which began with Sir Robert Farquhar as Governor, was followed by rapid social and economic changes. Slavery was abolished in 1835. The planters received two million pounds sterling in compensation for the loss of their slaves who had been imported from Africa and Madagascar during the French occupation. The abolition of slavery had important impacts on Mauritius' society, economy and population. The planters brought a large number of indentured labourers from India to work in the sugar cane fields. Between 1834 and 1921, around half a million indentured labourers were present on the island. They worked on sugar estates, factories, in transport and on construction sites. Additionally, the British brought 8,740 Indian soldiers to the island.[8] Aapravasi Ghat, in the bay at Port Louis and now a UNESCO site, was the first British colony to served as a major reception center for slaves and indentured servants for British plantation labor.

At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, many Mauritians volunteered to serve under the British flag in Africa and the Near East, fighting against the German and Italian armies. Some went to England to become pilots and ground staff in the Royal Air Force. Mauritius was never really threatened, but several British ships were sunk outside Port-Louis by German submarines in 1943.

The first general elections were held on 9 August 1948 and were won by the Labour Party. This party, led by Guy Rozemont, bettered its position in 1953, and, on the strength of the election results, demanded universal suffrage. Constitutional conferences were held in London in 1955 and 1957, and the ministerial system was introduced. Voting took place for the first time on the basis of universal adult suffrage on 9 March 1959. The general election was again won by the Labour Party, led this time by Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam. A Constitutional Review Conference was held in London in 1961 and a programme of further constitutional advance was established. Two eminent British academics, Richard Titmuss and James Meade, published a report which dwelt upon the social problems caused by overpopulation and the monoculture of sugar cane. This led to an intense campaign to halt the population explosion, and the 1960s registered a sharp decline in population growth.

In 1965, the Chagos Archipelago was split from the territory of Mauritius to form British Indian Ocean Territory. A general election took place on 7 August 1967, and the Labour Party and its two allies obtained the majority of seats. Mauritius adopted a new constitution, independence was proclaimed on 12 March 1968. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam became the first prime minister of an independent Mauritius. In 1969, the opposition party Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM) led by Paul Berenger was founded. Later in 1971, the MMM, backed by unions, called a series of strikes in the port which caused a state of emergency in the country, and the leader was imprisoned.[10]

Mauritius was proclaimed a republic twenty four years after independence on 12 March 1992.[8]

Politics[edit]

Main article: Politics of Mauritius

The politics of Mauritius take place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, in which the President is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government who is assisted by a Council of Ministers. Mauritius has a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the Government. Legislative power is vested in both the Government and the National Assembly. The absolute power is split between two positions: the President and the Prime Minister.

Parliament[edit]

The National Assembly is Mauritius's unicameral parliament, which was called the Legislative Assembly until 1992, when the country became a republic. It consists of 70 members, 62 elected for four-year terms in multi-member constituencies and eight additional members, known as "best losers", appointed by the Supreme Court to ensure that ethnic and religious minorities are equitably represented. The president is elected for a five-year term by the parliament. The island of Mauritius is divided into 20 constituencies that return three members each, while Rodrigues is a single constituency that returns two members. After a general election, the Electoral Supervisory Commission may nominate up to a maximum of eight additional members in accordance with Section 5 of the First Schedule of the Constitution with a view to correct any imbalance in community representation in Parliament. This system of nominating members is commonly called the best loser system.

The political party or party alliance which wins the majority of seats in Parliament forms the government and its leader usually becomes the Prime Minister. It is the Prime Minister who selects the members of the composition of the Cabinet from elected members of the Assembly, except for the Attorney General, who may not be an elected member of the Assembly. The political party or alliance which has the second largest majority forms the Official Opposition and its leader is normally nominated by the President of the Republic as the Leader of the Opposition. The Assembly elects a Speaker, a Deputy Speaker and a Deputy Chairman of Committees as some of its first task.

Government[edit]

Mauritius is a democracy with a government elected every five years. The most recent General Election was held on 5 May 2010 in all the 20 mainland constituencies, and in the constituency covering the island of Rodrigues. Elections have tended to be a contest between two major coalitions of parties.

The 2012 Ibrahim Index of African Governance ranked Mauritius first in good governance.[11] According to the 2011 Democracy Index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit that measures the state of democracy in 167 countries, Mauritius ranks 24th worldwide and is the only African country with "full democracy".[12]

Office HeldOffice HolderIncumbency
PresidentKailash Purryag20 July 2012
Vice PresidentMonique Ohsan Bellepeau13 November 2010
Prime MinisterNavin Ramgoolam5 July 2005
Deputy Prime MinisterRashid Beebeejaun7 July 2005
Vice Prime MinisterAnil Bachoo7 August 2011
Leader of the OppositionPaul Bérenger1 October 2013

Rule of law[edit]

Laws governing the Mauritian penal system are derived partly from French civil law and British common law.[13] The crime rate reduced from 4.3 per 1,000 population in 2009 to 3.6 per 1,000 population in 2010.[14] The Constitution of Mauritius states that for purposes of separation of powers, the judiciary is independent.[15] According to The Heritage Foundation the trials are fair and the legal system is generally non-discriminatory and transparent. The Independent Commission Against Corruption investigates offenses and can confiscate the proceeds of corruption and money laundering. Mauritius is one of Africa's least corrupt countries.[16]

Foreign relations[edit]

Mauritius has strong and friendly relations with various African, American, Asian, European and Oceania countries. It is a member of the World Trade Organization, the Commonwealth of Nations, La Francophonie, the African Union, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the Indian Ocean Commission, COMESA and formed the Indian Ocean Rim Association. Considered part of Africa geographically, Mauritius has friendly relations with African states in the region, particularly South Africa, by far its largest continental trading partner. Mauritian investors are gradually entering African markets, notably Madagascar, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The country's political heritage and dependence on Western markets have led to close ties with the European Union and its member states, particularly the United Kingdom and France. Relations with China and India are strong for both historical and commercial reasons.

Military[edit]

Main article: Military of Mauritius

All military, police, and security functions in Mauritius are carried out by 10,000 active-duty personnel under the command of the Commissioner of Police. The 8,000-member National Police Force is responsible for domestic law enforcement. The 1,500-member Special Mobile Force (SMF) and the 500-member National Coast Guard are the only two paramilitary units in Mauritius. Both units are composed of police officers on lengthy rotations to those services.[citation needed]

Geography[edit]

See also Maps of Mauritius at Wikimedia Commons

The total land area of the country is 2040 km2, which is the 180th largest nation in the world by size. The Republic of Mauritius also incorporates the island of Rodrigues, situated some 560 km to the east and is 104 km2 in area, the Agalega islands situated some 1,000 km to the north of Mauritius and Saint Brandon situated some 430 km to the north-east of Mauritius, both with total land area of 71.2 km2.[17][18] Mauritius claim sovereignty over Tromelin islands, small islands that lie 430 km to the north-east of Mauritius.[18] The nation's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) cover about 2.3 million km2 of the Indian Ocean, including approx. 400,000 km2 jointly managed with the Seychelles.[19][20][21]

The Island of Mauritius is relatively young geologically, having been created by volcanic activity some 8 million years ago. Together with Saint Brandon, Réunion and Rodrigues, the island is part of the Mascarene Islands. These islands have emerged from the abysses as a result of gigantic underwater volcanic eruptions that happened thousands of kilometres to the east of the continental block made up by Africa and Madagascar. They are no longer volcanically active and the hotspot now rests under Réunion island. There has been no active volcano on Mauritius island for more than 100,000 years. Mauritius is encircled by a broken ring of mountain ranges, varying in height from 300 m to 800 m above sea level. The land rises from coastal plains to a central plateau where it reaches a height of 670 m; the highest peak is in the southwest, Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire at 828 metres (2,717 ft). Streams and rivers speckle the island, a lot of them are formed in the cracks created by lava flows.[22]

Panoramic view showing houses, mountain ranges and sugar cane plantation

The island of Mauritius is situated some 2,000 km (1242 miles) off the south east coast of the African continent, between Latitudes 19°58.8' and 20°31.7' South and Longitudes 57°18.0' and 57°46.5' East, it is 65 km long and 45 km wide, its land area is 1,864.8 km2.[23][24] Mauritius is surrounded by more than 150 km (93 miles) of white sandy beaches and the lagoons are protected from the open sea by the world's third largest coral reef, which surrounds the island.[25] Just off the Mauritian coast lie some 49 uninhabited islands and islets (see Islets of Mauritius), some of them are used as natural reserves for the protection of endangered species.

Mauritius sought to regain sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago situated 1287 km to the north east (see Chagos Archipelago sovereignty dispute). The Government of the Republic of Mauritius does not recognise the British Indian Ocean Territory, which the United Kingdom created by excising the Chagos Archipelago from the territory of Mauritius prior to its independence. Mauritius claims that the Chagos Archipelago, including Diego Garcia, forms an integral part of the territory of Mauritius under both Mauritian law and international law.[26] Starting in the 1960s, more than 2,000 Chagossians were gradually removed, the United States established a military base on the biggest island, Diego Garcia. The Chagossians have since engaged in activism to return to the archipelago, claiming that the forced expulsion and dispossession were illegal.[27][28]

Environment[edit]

The tropical beach at Trou-aux-Biches.
Main article: Climate of Mauritius

The environment in Mauritius is typically tropical in the coastal regions with forests in the mountainous areas. Seasonal cyclones are destructive to the flora and fauna, although they recover quickly. Mauritius ranked second in an air quality index released by the World Health Organization in 2011.[29][30]

Situated near the tropic of Capricorn, Mauritius has a tropical climate. There are 2 seasons: a warm humid summer from November to April, with a mean temperature of 24.7° and a relatively cool dry winter from June to September with a mean temperature of 20.4°. The temperature difference between the seasons is only 4.3°. The warmest months are January and February with average day maximum temperature reaching 29.2° and the coolest months are July and August when average night minimum temperatures drops down to 16.4°. Annual rainfall ranges from 900 mm on the coast to 1,500 mm on the central plateau. Although there is no marked rainy season, most of the rainfall occurs in summer months. Sea temperature in the lagoon varies from 22° to 27°. The central plateau is much cooler than the surrounding coastal areas and can experience as much as double the rainfall. The prevailing trade winds keep the East side of the island cooler and also tends to bring more rain. There can also be a marked difference in temperature and rainfall from one side of the island to the other. Occasional tropical cyclones generally occurs between January to March and tend to disrupt the weather for only about three days bringing a lot of rain.[31]

Biodiversity[edit]

Main article: Wildlife of Mauritius

The country is home to some of the world's rarest plants and animals but human habitation and the introduction of non-native species have threatened its indigenous flora and fauna.[27] Due to its volcanic origin, age, isolation and its unique terrain, Mauritius is home to a diversity of flora and fauna not usually found in such a small area. Before its discovery by the Portuguese in 1507, there were no terrestrial mammals on the island. This allowed the evolution of a number of flightless birds and large reptile species. The arrival of man saw the introduction of invasive alien species and the rapid destruction of habitat and the loss of much of the endemic flora and fauna. Less than 2% of the native forest that once stretched from the mountain tops of the central plateau to the shore now remains, concentrated in the Black River Gorges National Park in the south west, the Bamboo Mountain Range in the south east and the Moka-Port Louis Ranges in the north west. There are also some isolated mountains which are Corps de Garde, Le Morne Brabant and several offshore islands with remnants of coastal and mainland diversity. Over 100 species of plants and animals have become extinct and many more are threatened. Conservation activities began in the 1980s with the implementation of programmes for the reproduction of threatened bird and plant species as well as habitat restoration in the National Parks and Nature Reserves.[32]

Mauritius was the only known habitat of the now-extinct Dodo bird.

When it was discovered, the island of Mauritius was the home of a previously unknown species of bird, the Dodo. Dodos were descendent of a type of pigeon which settled in Mauritius over 4 million years ago. With no predators to attack them, they lost their need and ability to fly. In 1505, the Portuguese became the first humans to set foot on Mauritius. The island quickly became a stopover for ships engaged in the spice trade. Weighing up to 50 pounds, the dodo was a welcome source of fresh meat for the sailors. Large numbers of dodos were killed for food. Later, when the Dutch used the island as a penal colony, new species were introduced to the island. Rats, pigs and monkeys ate dodo eggs in the ground nests. The combination of human exploitation and introduced species significantly reduced the dodo population. Within 100 years of the arrival of humans on Mauritius, the once abundant dodo became a rare bird. The last one was killed in 1681.[33] The dodo is prominently featured as a supporter of the national Coat of arms of Mauritius.

Districts[edit]

Mauritius is divided into nine districts which consist of different cities, towns and villages. The island of Rodrigues used to be the country's tenth district before it gained autonomous status in October 2002.


Demographics[edit]

Population pyramid of Mauritius according to 2011 census.
Religion in Mauritius
ReligionPercent
Hinduism
  
50.15%
Christianity
  
30.50%
Islam
  
17.85%
No Religion
  
0.72%
Buddhism
  
0.43%
Baha'i and Jewish
  
0.2%
Other religions
  
0.15%

The population estimate for the whole republic is 1,196,383[34]. The female population outnumbered the male population by about 19,937. The population on the island of Mauritius is 1,257,121, and that of Rodrigues island is 38,379. Agalega and Saint Brandon had an estimated population of 289.[1] Mauritius is a religiously diverse nation, with no particular religious group representing a majority of the population. It is a secular state and freedom of religion is a constitutional right.[35] Statistics on ethnicity are not available because such questions were removed from the population census. Mauritius is a multiethnic society, the ancestors of the Mauritian population are mainly of Indian, African, French and Chinese origin. According to the 2011 census made by Statistics Mauritius, Hinduism is the major religion followed by Christianity, Islam and Buddhist in terms of number of adherents.[36]

Language[edit]

Being both an English-speaking and French-speaking nation, Mauritius is a member of both the Commonwealth of Nations and the Francophonie. The Mauritian constitution makes no mention of an official language. It is only in the Parliament that the official language is English; any member of the National Assembly can also address the chair in French.[5] However, English is generally accepted as the official language of Mauritius and as the language of government administration, the courts and business.[6] The constitution of Mauritius and all laws are written in English. The Mauritian population is multilingual; most Mauritians are equally fluent in English and French.[25] In Mauritius, people switch to languages according to the situation; French and English are favoured in educational and professional settings while Asian languages are used in religious activities and Creole as mother tongue. French is mostly used in the media and literature.[37] The Mauritian creole, derived mainly from French (a French-based creole) with influences from the other dialects, is spoken by the majority of the population and is the country's native language.[38] Bhojpuri which was widely spoken has been decreasing over the years, according to the 2011 census made by Statistics Mauritius; there was a decrease in the use Bhojpuri at home, it was spoken by 5% of the population compared to 12% in 2000.[2] Some ancestral languages which are also spoken in Mauritius include Arabic, Bhojpuri, Cantonese, Hakka Chinese, Hindi, Marathi, Mandarin, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.[25][39] School students must learn English and French; they also have the option to study Asian languages and Creole. The medium of instruction varies from school to school but is usually French or English.[40] Rodriguan creole, Agalega creole and Chagossian creole are spoken by people from Rodrigues, Agalega and Chagos islands.

Education[edit]

The government of Mauritius provides free education to its citizens from pre-primary to tertiary level. Since July 2005, the government introduced free transport for all students. For the year 2013, government expenditure on education was estimated at about Rs 13,5 million, representing 13% of total expenditure.[41] The education system in Mauritius consists of pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. The education structure consists of three years of pre-primary school, six years of primary schooling leading to the Certificate of Primary Education, followed by five years of secondary education leading to the School Certificate and a further two years of higher secondary ending with the Higher School Certificate. The O-Level and A-Level examinations are carried out by the University of Cambridge through University of Cambridge International Examinations. The Tertiary Education sector includes colleges, universities and other technical institutions in Mauritius. The country's two main public universities are the University of Mauritius and the University of Technology. The Tertiary Education Commission's Strategic Plan envisages Mauritius as a regional knowledge hub and a centre for higher learning and excellence. It promotes open and distance learning to increase access to post-secondary education and lifelong learning locally and regionally.[42]

Economy[edit]

Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculture-based economy to a middle-income diversified economy. The economy is based on tourism, textiles, sugar, and financial services. In recent years, information and communication technology, seafood, hospitality and property development, healthcare, renewable energy, and education and training have emerged as important sectors, attracting substantial investment from both local and foreign investors.[43] Mauritius has no exploitable natural resources and therefore depends on imported petroleum products to meet most of its energy requirements. Local and renewable energy sources are biomass, hydro, solar and wind energy.[44][45] Mauritius has one of the largest Exclusive Economic Zones in the world, in 2012 the government announced its intention to develop the Ocean Economy.[46]

Port Louis, the capital city.

Mauritius is ranked high in terms of competitiveness, investment climate, governance and freest economy, the Gross Domestic Product (PPP) estimate was at $20.200 billion and GDP (PPP) per capita income over $15,591 in 2012, one of the highest in Africa.[3][11][16][47][48] Mauritius has an upper middle income economy, according to the World Bank in 2011.[49] For the fifth consecutive year, the World Bank's 2013 Ease of Doing Business report ranks Mauritius first among African economies and 19th worldwide out of 183 economies in terms of ease of doing business.[48] Mauritius has built its success on a free market economy, according to the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom Mauritius is ranked as having the 8th most free economy in the world, and the highest score in investment freedom.[50] The report's ranking of 183 countries is based on measures of economic openness, regulatory efficiency, rule of law, and competitiveness.

The rupee (sign: ₨; ISO 4217 code: MUR) is the currency of Mauritius. It is theoretically divided into 100 cents; however, as at October 2011, only 5 and 20 cent coins, are currently in circulation, the latest mintage of these two coins was in 2010. A Half Rupee coin is also in circulation. The rupee was established by law in 1876 as the local currency of Mauritius. The rupee was chosen due to the massive inflow of Indian rupees following Indian immigration to Mauritius. The Mauritian rupee was introduced in 1877, replacing the Indian rupee, sterling and the Mauritian dollar, with the Mauritian rupee equal to one Indian rupee or half a Mauritian dollar. The pound was worth 10¼ rupees at that time. The Mauritian currency also circulated in the Seychelles until 1914, when it was replaced by the Seychellois rupee at par. In 1934, a peg to sterling replaced the peg to the Indian rupee, at the rate of 1 rupee = 1 shilling 6 pence (the rate at which the Indian rupee was also pegged).[51] This rate, equivalent to 13⅓ rupees = 1 pound, was maintained until 1979.

Tourism[edit]

Main article: Tourism in Mauritius

Mauritius is one of the world's top luxury tourism destinations.[52] It possesses a wide range of natural and man-made attractions, enjoys a tropical climate with clear warm sea waters, attractive beaches, tropical fauna and flora complemented by a multi-ethnic and cultural population that is friendly and welcoming. These tourism assets are its main strength, especially since they are backed up by well-designed and run hotels, and reliable and operational services and infrastructures.[53][better source needed] Mauritius received the World Leading island Destination award for the third time and World's Best Beach at the World Travel Awards in January 2012.[54]

Transportation[edit]

Since 2005 public bus transport in Mauritius is free of charge for students, people with disability and senior citizens[citation needed]. There are currently no railways in Mauritius, previous privately owned industrial railways have been abandoned. To cope with increasing road traffic congestion, a Light Rail Transit system has been proposed between Curepipe and Port Louis. The harbour where international trade is handled and Cruise Terminal is found at Port Louis. The sole international airport for civil aviation is Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, which also serves as the home operating base for the national airline Air Mauritius, the airport authority inaugurated a new terminal for international flights in September 2013.[citation needed]

Culture[edit]

Main article: Culture of Mauritius

Seafood is an important component in the Cuisine of Mauritius.

Holidays and festivals[edit]

Mauritius public holidays involves the blending of several cultures from Mauritius's history, as well as individual culture arising indigenously. There are Hindu festivals, Chinese festivals, Muslim festivals, as well as Christian festivals.

There are 15 annual public holidays in Mauritius. Seven of these are fixed holidays: 1 and 2 January; 1 February; 12 March; 1 May; 2 November; and 25 December. The remaining public holidays are religious festivals with dates that vary from year to year. However these are public holidays, many other festivals such as Holi, Raksha Bandhan, Père Laval Pilgrimageal also exist in Mauritius.

Sports[edit]

The Maiden Cup in 2006.

The national sport[disputed ] of Mauritius is football[55] and the national team is the Club M, other popular sports in Mauritius include cycling, table tennis, badminton, volleyball, basketball, handball, boxing, judo, karate, taekwondo, weightlifting, bodybuilding and athletics. Water sports includes swimming, sailing, scuba diving and water skiing. Horseracing which dates back to 1812, when the Champ de Mars Racecourse was inaugurated remain very popular. The country hosted the second (1985) and fifth editions (2003) of the Indian Ocean Island Games. Mauritius won its first Olympic medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing when boxer Bruno Julie won the bronze medal.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ministry of Finance & Economic Development (January–June 2013). Population and vital statistics Republic of Mauritius. Government of Mauritius. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Ministry of Finance & Economic Development. POPULATION AND VITAL STATISTICS REPUBLIC OF MAURITIUS 2012. Government of Mauritius. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Mauritius". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Human Development Report 2011 – Human development statistical annex". HDRO (Human Development Report Office) United Nations Development Programme. pp. 127–130. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Article 49 of The Constitution". National Assembly of Mauritius. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Language". Government of mauritius. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  7. ^ Toorawa, S. (2007). The medieval Waqwaq islands and the Mascarenes. Hassam Toorawa Trust, Port Louis, Mauritius
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "History". Government of Mauritius. 19 April 2005. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  9. ^ "History of Mauritius". Ministry of Art & Culture. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "Mauritius profile". BBC. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Mauritius's recent performance in the Ibrahim Index of African Governance". Moibrahim Foundation. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "African democracy − A glass half-full". The Economist. 31 March 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  13. ^ "Mauritius-Penal System". Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  14. ^ Overview of the department. Government of Mauritius. p. 151. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  15. ^ "Introduction to the Supreme Court of Mauritius". Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  16. ^ a b "Mauritius". The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  17. ^ Ministry of Finance & Economic Development (2011). Population and Vital Statistics – Republic of Mauritius, January – June 2011. 1 July 2011. Government of Mauritius. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  18. ^ a b "Geography − location". Government of mauritius. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  19. ^ "MAURITIUS: PROMOTING THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN OCEAN ECONOMY". Intercontinental Trust. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  20. ^ "National Coast Guard". Government of Mauritius. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  21. ^ "Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) Outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines:Submissions to the Commission: Joint submission by the Republic of Mauritius and the Republic of Seychelles". United Nation. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  22. ^ "Geography − Overview". Gov.mu. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  23. ^ "Meteorological Services − Monthly Bulletin of Climatological Summaries". Mauritius Meteorological Services. May 2008. p. 3. Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  24. ^ "General Info – Geography". Mauritius.net. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  25. ^ a b c "Tourism − Overview of Mauritius". Government of mauritius. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  26. ^ "Chagos remains a matter for discussion". Le Defimedia. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  27. ^ a b "Mauritius profile". BBC World. 22 July 2011. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  28. ^ "HISTORICAL BACKGROUND – WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO ?". chagosinternational.org. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  29. ^ "Mauritius's air quality 2nd best in world". Le Matinal. 26 September 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  30. ^ "According to the World Health Organization – Mauritius: a breath of fresh air". motors.mega.mu. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  31. ^ "Climate of Mauritius". Mauritius Meteorological Services. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  32. ^ "Chapter 1. Introduction to the Republic of Mauritius". Government of Mauritius. Retrieved 15 June 2012. 
  33. ^ "The Dodo". Government of Mauritius. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  34. ^ http://www.gov.mu/portal/goc/cso/file/2011VolIIPC.pdf
  35. ^ "Country Studies Series: Mauritius" (PDF). Brandeis University. p. 2. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  36. ^ "Resident population by religion and sex". Statistics Mauritius. p. 68. Retrieved 1 November 2012. 
  37. ^ "Mauritius defies anglophone past to embrace French language". Afp.google.com. 18 October 2008. Retrieved 4 July 2010. 
  38. ^ "Demographics". mauritiusgovernment.com. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  39. ^ "CABINET DECISIONS −11 JUNE 2010". Government of Mauritius. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  40. ^ "Education in Mauritius – Background". Government of Mauritius. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  41. ^ Ministry of Education and Human Resource (2013). Education statistics – 2013. Government of Mauritius. Retrieved September 2013. 
  42. ^ Education. commonwealth-of-nations.org. 2006. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  43. ^ "Mauritius". CIA – The World Factbook. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  44. ^ Energy resources. Government of Mauritius. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  45. ^ Joseph E. Stiglitz. The Mauritius Miracle. Project Syndicate. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  46. ^ Moving the Nation Forward. Government of Mauritius. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  47. ^ 2012 Investment Climate Statement – Mauritius. U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  48. ^ a b Economy Rankings. World Bank. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  49. ^ "Country and Lending Groups – Upper-middle-income economies". World Bank. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  50. ^ "2013 Index of Economic Freedom". The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 23 August 2013. "
  51. ^ Schuler, Kurt. "Tables of Modern Monetary Systems (Mauritius)". Kurt Schuler. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  52. ^ "Positioning Mauritius in the world". MTPA. p. 46. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  53. ^ "Code of ethics of tourism for Mauritius". MTPA. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  54. ^ "Mauritius awards". World travel award. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  55. ^ Richards, Alexandra.Mauritius: Rodrigues, Réunion. Bradt Travel Guides, 2009, p.90

Bibliography[edit]

  • Macdonald et al., Fiona. "Mauritius". Peoples of Africa. pp. 340–341. 

External links[edit]

Reference
Government
Geography
Travel