History of Mauritius

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.


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