has never been
a colony in real terms, as it was originally inhabited.
10th century: The Arab navigators call in Mauritius several times
while exploring the regions off their costs.
1500. Portuguese "discover" the island and calls it
"Ilha do Cirne" (Swan Island) and abandon it later.
1512. In turn, the British sailors discovered the island.
1598. The Dutch take over the island and call it "Mauritius"
in honour of Maurits van Nassau
, governor of the Orange
state in Southern Africa.
1638. After having used the island on and off for repairing ships
and as temporary shelter for their fleets the first Dutch settlers
arrive in Mauritius to create a colony.
1639. Introduction of the sugar cane.
1658. The Dutch abandon the island.
1664. The Dutch come back for another try.
1710. The Dutch abandon the island definitely, after having destroyed
a vast amount of ebony trees and the Dodo and leaving behind sugar
cane plants, coconut trees, dears from Java, cows, pigs, hens,
and... the stray dogs, one of the peculiarities of Mauritius.
1715. The French take over the island and name it "Isle
1719. The king Louis XV concedes the island to the almighty "Compagnie
1721. Arrival of the first French settlers.
1735. Arrival of "Mahé de Labourdonnais
as Governor of the island for the account of the "Compagnie
1735. Mahé de Labourdonnais decides to develop Port Louis as main
port and administrative centre.
1745. The first export orientated sugar mills are created. Although
the sugar cane was introduced since 1639, it was mostly used for
the making of spirits greatly appreciated by the sailors. The
sugar production was mainly for the local consumption and for
1764. The "Compagnie des Indes" going bankrupt, Louis
XV buys back the island.
1767. Arrival of the first royal officers acting as governors.
1790. The settlers learn with great pleasure about the French
1792. The revolutionary French authority orders the abolition
of slavery. The Settlers refuse to abide leading to a breach of
relationships with the French government.
1800. Witnessing a great English activity in the whole Indian
Ocean, the settlers ask the Napoleon administration for protection
against the invaders.
1803. Arrival of Decaen
and the creation of a
Military authority. Decaen came up with an anti-revolutionary
plan where the practice of slavery was no more an offence and
re-established the former racial segregation between whites and
others. On the other hand, Decaen allowed the runaway slaves to
live freely and supported the observance of religions other than
Christianity, such as the Tamil, Hindu and Muslim religions.
1810. The great "Vieux Grand Port
naval battle took place. This battle is famous as it was the only
naval battle won by the French over the English.
1810. Despite the outcome of the "Vieux Grand Port"
battle, the English strike again, this time landing in Cap-Malheureux
and take over the defenceless Island. The capitulation occurred
overnight as both the French and English had the means to open
a fight. The French agreed to surrender conditionally that the
French settlers could keep their land, belongings, status and
culture. It is for this reason that to day, French is more widely
spoken in Mauritius while the official language is English since
1810. The Island takes its definite name of Mauritius.
1835. Abolition of slavery.
1864 - 1929. Mauritius follows the Industrial revolution and sets
its first railway receives its first car and discovers the telephone
1929. Economic crisis due to the development of sweet beetroot
sugar in Europe.
1934. Creation of the Mauritian Rupee.
1936. The creation of the first political (labour) party.
1937. The first strike takes place where field workers fight the
landlords and the state makes the use of troops to re-establish
law and order.
1941. Building of the Plaisance airport for the use of the RAF.
1947. First passenger flight from France lands in Mauritius after
a three-day trip.
1948. The Labour party wins the first election.
1959. Sir. Seewoosagar Ramgoolam with the labour party wins the
first open election.
1963. Sir. Seewoosagar Ramgoolam
wins again this time as
leader of the labour party, marking the definitive take-over of
the political scene by the Hindus.
1967. The Mauritians opt for Independence proposed by the Labour
1968. While the past year saw many fights and resistance from
the anti-independent Franco Mauritians, more ethnic fights occur
namely between the Creoles and the Muslims.
1968. The independence nonetheless takes effect.
achieves the status of Republic
The governor, representative of the Queen of England, is named
President of the Republic.