Mauritius is one of the rarest countries with such a rich history.
The Arabs were the first people to visit Mauritius during the 10th century, yet the island was officially Â«discoveredÂ» in 1505 by the Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas. The Portuguese never attempted to settle, they were more interested in protecting their trade routes with India. The Island was then discovered and occupied by the Dutch.
In 1598 they decided to name the island 'Prins Maurits van Nassaueiland', after Prince Maurits (Latin version: Mauritius). The Dutch tried to settle, however due to the bad living conditions with cyclones destroying their shelters and rats eating their food, they left the island in 1710.
Abandoned by the Dutch, the island became a French colony when, in September 1715, Guillaume Dufresne D'Arsel landed. He named the island 'Isle de France'. It was only as from 1735, with the arrival of the most illustrious of French governor, MahÃ© de La Bourdonnais that the 'Isle de France' started developing effectively.
In 1810, a strong British expedition captured the island. A preliminary attack was foil at Grand Port in August 1810, but the main attack was in December of the same year. The British landed in large numbers in the north of the island and rapidly overpowered the French. The 'Isle de France' which was renamed 'Mauritius' was thus ceded to Great Britain.
The British administration, which began with Robert Farquhar as governor, was followed by rapid social and economic changes. One of the most important events was the abolition of slavery in 1835. Mauritian Creoles trace their origins to the plantation owners and slaves who were brought to work the sugar fields.
In 1968, Mauritius proclaimed independence.