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Island Info: Page 2

world-map-showing-mauritiusMauritius is a tropical island in the Indian Ocean. It is situated in the south of the equator and just north of the Tropic of Capricorn. It is about 800 km to the east of Madagascar. Rodrigues and Reunion are the islands which, with Mauritius are known as the Mascarenes Archipelago. Mauritius is 1,864 sq. Km (720 square miles) in area and  at the end of July 2004, had a population of approximately 1,233,669.

Mauritius is surrounded by beautiful white sandy beaches, blue lagoons, palm trees and coral reefs. The beauty of the island is overwhelming. Those who love nature will be absolutely astonished by the magnificence of the mountains, nature reserves and wildlife parks.

mauritius-various-colour

Mauritius achieved independence on the 12 March 1968 with Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (later Sir) as the Prime Minister and in 1992, it became an independent republic within the commonwealth. The flag of Mauritius consists of four equal width horizontal stripes. In descending order, these are red, blue, yellow and green.

The colours have been interpreted as: Red for freedom and independence, Blue for the Indian Ocean, Yellow for the light of independence shining over the nation, Green for the agriculture of Mauritius.

Anyone and everyone would feel at home in Mauritius. The people (Mauritians) are of different nationalities: Indians, Africans, Europeans and Chinese. The Indo-Mauritians are divided into three groups: Hindus, Tamils and Moslems. They are all united and live in peace with each other. The people are full of charm, very courteous and helpful.

Republic of Mauritius
 
Flag Coat of arms Motto: "Stella Clavisque Maris Indici"  (Latin) "Star and Key of the Indian Ocean"

Coat_of_arms_of_Mauritius
Anthem: Motherland
 Capital: (and largest city) Port Louis 20°10′S 57°31′E
Official languages: English
Government Republic  - President Anerood Jugnauth  - Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam
Independence from the United Kingdom  - Date March 12, 1968  - Republic March 12, 1992 
Area: - Total 2,040 km² (179th) 787 sq mi  - Water (%) 0.05
Population: - July 2005 estimate 1,145,000 (153rd)  - Density 603/km² (17th) 1,564/sq mi
GDP: (PPP) 2006 estimate  - Total $17.08 billion (115th) - Per capita $13,703 (51st)
HDI:  (2004) 0.800 (High) (63rd)
Currency: Mauritian rupee (MUR)
Time zone: MUT (UTC+4)  - Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+4) Internet TLD .mu
Calling code +230

History of Mauritius

Some historians believe that the Phoenicians visited Mauritius as early as 2000 BC [citation needed]. While Arab and Malay sailors knew of Mauritius as early as the 10th century[citation needed] and Portuguese sailors first visited it in 1505, the island remained uninhabited until 1638 when it was colonized by the Dutch. They named the island in honour of Prince Maurice of Nassau. Because of climate changes, cyclones and the deterioration of the settlement, the Dutch abandoned the island some decades later. The French controlled the island during the 18th century and named it Ile de France (Isle of France). Despite winning the famous Battle of Grand-Port, Napoleon's only naval win over the British, the French were defeated by the British in the north of the island, at Cap Malheureux (Cape of the Unlucky Ones) three months later, and thus lost possession to the British in 1810. The latter reverted the island to its former name.

In 1965, the United Kingdom split out the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius to create the British Indian Ocean Territory, in order to utilise the strategic islands for defence purposes in cooperation with the United States. Although the Government of Mauritius agreed to the move at the time[citation needed], subsequent administrations have laid claim to the islands stating that the divestment was illegal under international law - a claim recognised by the United Nations[citation needed].

A postcard of Mauritius, Port Louis: Theatre, c.1900-1910Independence was attained in 1968, with the country becoming a republic within the Commonwealth in 1992. Mauritius has been a stable democracy with regular free elections and a positive human rights record, and has attracted considerable foreign investment earning one of Africa's highest per capita incomes.

Mauritius aims to become the business hub of the Indian Ocean. New business opportunities in banking and the technology sector are being actively sought.

Through the celebration of the Bicentenary of the Battle of Grand Port in 2010, Mauritius is aiming at rebuilding its maritime heritage and reclaiming its title of the Star & the Key of the Indian Ocean.

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