Mauritius History

mauritius history
© 2002 Tous droits réservés. Photo Musée de la Photographie
fort Frederick HendrickL'histoire semble accepter les Arabes comme étant les premiers à avoir foulés le sol mauricien. Les îles Mascareignes (nommées après Don Pedro Mascarenhas) étant beaucoup trop loin de leurs routes habituelles de commerce, il est supposé que, surpris par un cyclone, leurs boutres auraient dérivé jusque sur l'île. Une carte Arabe reproduite par Alberto Cantino en 1502 mentionne trois petites îles au sud-est de Madagascar désignées sous des noms arabes : Dina Moraze pour l'île Rodrigues, Dina Margabim, pour l'île de Réunion et Dina Arobi pour l'île Maurice. Il est toutefois difficile de située la période exacte de leur première embarcation sur l'île. Les historians pointent leur découverte de l'île vers la fin du 14ème siècle ou au début du 15ème siècle. Cependant ils ne s'y installèrent jamais pour plusieurs raisons. Premièrement, l'île était beaucoup trop loin de leurs routes de commerce habituelle et manquée de population avec laquelle ils pourraient faire du commerce. Deuxièmement, les voyage d'aller et retour vers l'île étaient beaucoup trop dangereux pour leurs boutres.
In 1598, the Dutch on their way to the East fortuitously landed at Vieux Grand Port, in the south east of the island, and named it after their Prince “ Mauritius Van Nassau ”, the younger son of Guillaume de Nassau, Prince Orange and Stadholder of Holland. Unlike the Portuguese who had little influence in the Indian Ocean, the Dutch were much more powerful in the region. They had already several counters in the East and established a first settlement under the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch however showed more interest with the Far East and the peopling of Mauritius remained very unstable. In 1712, they finally withdrew from Mauritius because of the difficult climatic conditions prevailing on the island and because it was more worthwhile to consolidate their already established base in Capetown (South Africa).
 Their withdrawal allowed the French in 1715, who were already operating in the Indian Ocean, to move in. They named the island Isle de France. True colonisation and peopling of the island started under the French in 1722 and they would control the island until 1810. For almost 100 years the Isle de France was developed and built up with the objective of conquering Madras and other Indian counters from the British. Under the French, colonisation was successful because they were prepared to settle and develop the infrastructure, agriculture and economy and use it as a trading post rather than just a port of call.
After the defeat of the French in India, Britain became the most important land based power in the Indian Ocean. Finally in 1810 the British moved in and took over the island six months after having been vanquished by the same French during the naval battle of Vieux Grand Port. It was to be the one and only victory of the navy of Napoleon in the world.
Mauritius history immigrantsIt was during British rule that slavery was abolished in 1835 and Indentured labourers were contracted from India. The 19th Century was a time of great change in the population structure of the island. The coloured people and immigrants greatly modified the political of the island. The 20th Century saw a continuation of the political struggle started in the 19th Century. Political Parties were formed and the distribution of power was reformed to accommodate the different emerging segment of the population. In 1936 the Mauritian Labour Party was created and in 1968 the island became an independent country. The second half of the 20th Century is marked by reforms brought to the economy which led to the economic boom after 1982 and to the transformation of the island from an underdeveloped, third world country into a developing country.
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Dutch in Mauritius
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British Take Over


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