The Star and the key of the Indian Océan
A brief History
|The island was
uninabited until the end of the 16th century, but the arabs certainly came in the 10th
century. The first european visitor was probably the portuguese navigator Domingos
Fernandez who landed about 1510 or 1511; it is this name "Domingos Fernandez"
that one finds on protuguese maps from 1519 to 1553.
Ten years later this name was remplaced by that of "Sirne" or "Cerne", from the name of the ship of the fleet of Alphonse Albuquerque which had reached the island on 20 febuary 1507, a name which is the most well-known today.
It is to Pedro Mascarenhas another portuguese navigator, that the island of Mauritius, Reunion and Rodriguez were called "Mascareignes". The portuguese, however, didn't remain on the island and the only traces of their visits are domestics animals and monkeys which they introduce there.
In 1580, the island
passed under spanish domination until the first dutch expedition arrived in 1598. In 1638
the dutch occupied the island, which tey named "Mauritius" in honour of
Stathoulder Maurice de Nassau, their sovereing, and established a small colony there.
Until the arrival of the french, the island served as a port of
call on the route from the Cape to India. Now there only remain the stories of fabulous
treasures buried by pirates on the coast, which have given rise to modern searches for
During the 18th century wars, the stategic importance of Port Louis as a base of operations controlling the indian ocean was amply demonstrated. However, it was during the war of American Independance and the wars of the french revolution that the island acquired its reputation as a privateer's retreat. After the rupture of the links with France during the revolution, the island was left to his own ressources; its history, since then, is snwn with glorious episodes of privateering in which Robert Surcouf and others corsairs, of which Jean François Hodoul, distinguished themself
In july 1810 the british occupied Bourbon Island (later La
Réunion island) but their squadron, in attempting to take possession of the Ile de
France, was beaten on 19 and 20 august at the Battle of Grand Port, which name is
inscribed on the Arc de Triomphe, Paris, amongst the other Napoleonic victories.
Under british administration, the economy developped rapidly and important changes occured in the social life, such as the abolition of slavery in 1835 and the use of indian manpower. Economic progresse, requiring the extension of internal communication for transporting sugar to Port Louis, gave rise to road and railways construction. In the mid - 19th century, more than 250 sugar refineries were in production; now there are only 22, producing 650.000 tons of sugar annually.
In september 1965, a constitutional conference decided to give Mauritius its independance after six month of internal autonomy. The elections of 7 august 1967 confirmed in power those political groups which had fought for independance, which was granted on 12 march 1968.
According to Régis Fanchette IGN France