Mauritius was discovered by the Portuguese in 1507 and was later occupied by the Dutch, from 1598 up until 1710. In 1715, it came into the possession of the East India Company and in 1767, that of the King of France, who christened it 'Ile de France'. Captured by the British in 1810 and then acknowledged by the Treaty of Paris in 1814, the British allowed the French settlers to use their language and their civil code.

After a brief Dutch settlement, French immigrants who came in 1715 named the island Île de France and established the first road and harbor infrastructure, as well as the sugar industry, under the leadership of Gov. Mahe de Labourdonnais. Blacks from Africa and Madagascar came as slaves to work in the sugarcane fields. In 1810, the British captured the island and in 1814, by the Treaty of Paris, it was ceded to Great Britain along with its dependencies.

Indian immigration, which followed the abolition of slavery in 1835, rapidly changed the fabric of Mauritian society, and the country flourished with the increased cultivation of sugarcane. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 heralded the decline of Mauritius as a port of call for ships rounding the southern tip of Africa, bound for South and East Asia. The economic instability of the price of sugar, the main crop, in the first half of the 20th century brought civil unrest, then economic, administrative, and political reforms. Mauritius became independent on March 12, 1968.

Independence

Mauritius achieved independence on 12 March 1968 and adopted a constitution based on the British parliamentary system. The first post-independence years were difficult but after more than 15 years of planning and hard work, Mauritius achieved economic and political stability. Mauritius changed its status to that of a Republic on 12 March 1992. The Mauritian Constitution is based on the Westminster model. Political power is vested in the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. Elections are held every five years

Population

Mauritius has become a society of different races, cultures and religions through its immigration. People of African, Indian, European and Chinese origins cohabit with various cultures, customs, languages peacefully and harmonically on narrow land. Mauritius is an example for other societies of the world.