After a brief Dutch settlement, French colonists who came in 1715 named the island Île de France and established the first road and harbour infrastructure, as well as the sugar industry, under the leadership of Governor Mahe de Labourdonnais.
People from Africa and Madagascar were brought 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.
Now tourism plays a vital role in the economy as Mauritius is considered a top holiday destination with its white sandy beaches, luxury hotels, rocky mountains, exotic natural environment and unique wildlife. Due to the Island’s rich history, Mauritius is a cultural melting pot, with various religious and cultural festivals celebrated throughout the year and a diversity of cuisine is available.
Government: parliamentary democracy
Currency: Mauritian rupee (MUR)
Area: 2,040 km2
Population: 1,230,602 (July 2006 est.)
Language: English, Creole, French, Hindi, Urdu, Hakka, Bhojpuri
Electricity: 230V/50Hz (European or UK plug)
Calling Code: +230
Internet TLD: .mu
Time Zone: UTC+4