History of Mauritius
Below is a brief history of Mauritius showing important dates and events for the island.
1498 – Portuguese explorers stumble upon Mauritius
1598 – Dutch claim the uninhabited island. They name it after their head of state, Maurice.
1662 – Lat widely accepted sighting of the dodo
1710 – The Dutch withdraw permanently
1715 – French East India Company claims Mauritius for France
1767 – French East Indies Company sells Mauritius to Government of France
1788 – The book Paul and Virginie by Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre is published
1810 – British forces arrive in Mauritius after defeating the French at Cap Malheureux.
1812 – Colonel Draper founds the Mauritius Turf Club, which opens the first racecourse in the southern hemisphere and the second oldest in the world.
1814 – Mauritius, Seychelles and Rodrigues ceded to Britain under Treaty of Paris.
1835 – 1 February – Slavery was abolished
1835 – Indentured labour system introduced. In subsequent decades hundreds of thousands of workers arrive from India.
1876 – Indian rupee becomes official currency.
1896 – 15th April – Mark Twain visits Mauritius.
1910 – Indentured labour system abolished.
1926 – First Indo-Mauritians elected to government council.
1936 – Creole politician Dr Maurice Cure founds Mauritian Labour Party (MLP)
1941 – Plaisance Airport was founded for military purposes by Britain’s Royal Air Force.
1942 – Donald Mackenzie-Kennedy becomes governor. Introduces consultative committee which for the first time includes representatives from all Mauritian communities.
1948 – New constitution gives the vote to Indians and Creoles.
1957 – Internal self-government introduced, with an electoral system based on the Westminster model.
1958 – New constitution introduced, now all adults over 21 can vote.
1959 – First elections won by MLP, led by Seewoosagur Ramgoolam.
1965 – Constitutional conference held in London to discuss independence.
1967 – Air Mauritius was launched
1968 – 12th March – Mauritius became an independent state
1971 – First Export Processing Zone created. Textiles production develops.
1971 – Opposition MMM, calls a series of strikes. State of emergency declared, which lasts until 1976. MMM party’s leadership imprisoned.
1985 – Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, father of nation, dies
1989 – Stock Exchange opens in Port Louis.
1992 – 12 March – Mauritius became a republic
1995 December – MLP leader Navin Ramgoolam becomes prime minister.
2000 – Mauritius secures a seat on the United Nations Security Council
2003 – September – Anerood Jugnauth hands over power to Paul Berenger, who becomes the island’s first non-Hindu premier.
2012 June – Britain signs a deal with Mauritius allowing suspected pirates caught by its Royal Navy to be transferred to the Indian Ocean island to face prosecution.