Arab merchants via sea route through Indian Ocean discovered Mauritius. Important trading routes linked the east coast of Africa and Madagascar with the Arabian Peninsula, India and Indonesia. The islands of Mascarenes were usual trade and business routes for Arabs and Indian sailors. It is believed that these islands were discovered when a cyclone caught an Arab Dhow unaware and pushed it towards Mauritius. However, there are no concrete proofs when Arab Seamen first landed on the island.
Historians believe that Arab people approached the island sometimes during 14th and 15th century. In 1498, the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama succeeded in rounding the cape of Good Hope and called at various Arab-Swahili cities along the East African coast on his way northwards. It was at one of those city ports that an Arab or Indian pilot showed him the way to Goa, India. Within the next ten years, numerous Portuguese expeditions explored the Indian Ocean, visiting Madagascar, the Seychelles and the Comoros Islands.
In 1507, the Portuguese seaman Fernandez Pereira viewed Mauritius and called it Cerne. The sets of islands consisting of Mauritius, Reunion and Rodrigues were given the names of Mascarenes after the Portuguese captain, Pero Mascarenhas. The Portuguese never made efforts to reconcile on any of the Mascarenes islands. They were more engrossed in caring their trade routes with India and therefore recognized settlements along the coast of Mozambique instead.
At the end of 16th century Dutch became powerful in Europe. Between 1598-1616, Mauritius was used as a refreshing station. This first period is quite obscure and the Dutch on their way to the Malay Peninsula and Batavia only occasionally used the island. In 1611 a new route to the East Indies was discovered. By 1615, Good Hope was the only port of call of the Dutch on their way east. When the Dutch left, other nations started showing interest in the island especially because of the ebony.
The second time occupation of the island started in 1664 and ended in 1710. This second occupation was impelled by the great demand of timber at the Cape of Good Hope. During this period, the Dutch East India Company had recourse to convicts, drunkards and runaways to people of Mauritius. The Dutch left a mixed legacy. They left sugar cane and deer but the introduction of rats by the Dutch led to the extinction of the Dodo.
The years between 1715 and 1810 in the history of Mauritius are marked as French rule. From 1810 – 1968 British ruled here. The slavery system abolished in 1835 during British rule and Indentured laborers were contracted from India. Major changes took place in the population structure of the island in the 19th century. The second half of the 20th Century is marked by reforms brought to the economy, which led to the economic boom after 1982, and to the transformation of the island from an underdeveloped, third world country, into a developing country.
Geographically located over tropic of cancer in the southwest Indian ocean Mauratania is 2000 Km off the east coast of Africa and some 855 Km east of Madagascar. The islands are surrounded by coral reefs. The land rises from coastal plains to a central plateau where it reaches a height of 670 meters. The plateau is bordered by three mountain ranges, the highest peak, the Piton de la Petite Riviere Noire, rising to 828 m.
The republic enjoys a maritime sub-tropical climate with temperatures averaging 22° C on the plateau. The climate is tropical during summer and sub-tropical during winter. The summer months extend from November to April and winter from May to October. In the center of the island, temperature stays between 13ºC and 19ºC in July - August, and between 19ºC and 25ºC in January. Along the coast, the temperature is about 5ºC higher.
Mauritius is home to 900 different species of plants of which 311 are endemic species. Out of these 311 species, 113 species declared endangered. 50 of the 113 species are threatened which means that they are represented by less than 10 in the wild.
Wide ranges of animal species are also found here. There are at least 18 native land birds of which the following 7 are now extinct, with the approximate extinction date shown in brackets: the dodo Raphus cucullatus (1662), the large parrot Lophopssittacus mauritianus (1680), the red rail Aphanapteryx bonasia (1760), the parrot bensoni (1770), the fruit pigeon or Dutch pigeon Alectruenas nitidissima (1840), the owl Otus commerson (1650) and the owl Tylo sauzieri (1850).
Mauritius is a plural society where all the ethnic groups present: Hindus, Muslims, Creoles, Chinese and Europeans live in peace and where all the ancestral cultures have been preserved. These features make the island a unique place in the world. Most Mauritians are bilingual being equally fluent in French and English. English is the official language, but French and Creole are widely spoken.
Oriental languages also form part of the linguistic mosaic.
Mauritius is a blend of varied cultures and religions, which immigrant population brought from their ancestral countries. Their festivities are celebrated in a spirit of peace and harmony throughout the year. Cavadi, Divali, Father Laval, Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi, Id-El-Fitr, Ougadi, Spring Festival are some of the festivals to name.
The law and order in Mauritius is a blend of French and British legal traditions. The Supreme Court--a chief justice and five other judges--is the highest judicial authority. There is an additional right of appeal to the Queen's Privy Council. Local government has nine administrative divisions, with municipal and town councils in urban areas and district and village councils in rural areas. The island of Rodrigues forms the country's 10th administrative division. The Principal Government Officials in Mauritius are: the President, the Vice President, the Prime Minister etc.
Mauritius has experiences major economic and political developments in last decades. One time depending mainly on sugar for monetary profits now it has major economic contributors like textile and apparel industry, tourism and financial services. Mauritius attracts direct foreign investors, as the country is rich in skilled work force. The average economic growth was 5.6% over the last 3 years. The income per Capita has reached 4000 US Dollars. As a result the standard of living has gone up. The sectors like tourism, Textile, Agriculture and Financial services are undergoing changes in a positive direction benefiting the economy of Mauritius.
Visa Requirements To Study In Mauritius
International Students require to apply for a Visa to study in Mauritius. The common minimum requirements to apply for a Mauritiusn student visa are:
Accepted by a college / university in Mauritius to pursue a Full Time Course.
Possess required eligibility certificates to take admission in one such.
Hold a valid Passport for the intended period of stay.
Proof of income or sufficient means to support studies in Mauritius
Health Certificate issued by a competent hospital from the home country.
Candididates holding above documents may apply for Visa with nearest Foreign Mission Office of Mauritius in the home country.
Mauritius also welcomes candidates for part time sudies, log term studies like research programs and training programs etc. For detailed visa requirements for different level of studies you are advised to check with Official Website of Mauritius Government.
List of Universities in Mauritius
Mauritius @ A Glance
Official Name: The Republic of Mauritius
National Anthem: Motherland
Capital: Port Louis
Largest City: Port Louis
Official Languages: English
Independence from the United Kingdom
- Date March 12, 1968
- Republic March 12, 1992
Total Area: 787 sq mi
Population: 1 219 220 (According to 2006 estimates)
Currency: Mauritian rupee (MUR)
Time Zone: MUT (UTC+4)
Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+4)
Internet TLD: .mu
Calling Code: +230