Ile Maurice, Mauritius Hotels and City Guide

Ile Maurice Hotels and Ile Maurice Guide with Ile Maurice maps, top attractions, room reservations and hotel deals at a wide range of the best Ile Maurice hotels

Ile Maurice - Mauritius History

Mauritius' History

Geographical History

The geography of the island is the result of volcanic action millions of years ago, dramatic mountain peaks and craters reminders of this. The centre of the island is taken up by the high central plateau which is surrounded by mountain ranges: the Moka Range around Port Louis, the Bambous Mountains in the east and the Black River and Savanne Ranges in the southwest.

Many small rivers drain off these mountains to the coast. The Rivière Noir in the southwest of the island cuts through the Black River range in spectacular gorges.

Cultural History

Being perfectly placed on the lucrative East Indies silk and spice trade route, the Arabs were the first to discover the island in the 10th century, with pirates, Portuguese explorers, Dutch, French and British colonists all contributing to the history and mixed culture of the island.

The Dutch landed in 1598 on their way to the East Indies when Admiral van Warwyck named the island Mauritius after Prince Maurice of Nassau. With an eye to its rich ebony forests, they attempted to colonise it in 1638, introducing sugar-cane to the island. Slaves from Madagascar and prisoners from the East Indies were brought in to work the sugar-cane plantations, a most profitable crop which became the backbone of the economy until recently when the textile industry and tourism took over.

But in 1658 the Dutch gave up their colonisation efforts because of many difficulties, including cyclones, droughts, disease and pirates, and retired to the Cape of Good Hope where they had established a victualling station in 1652. Because of the importance of the trade route, they once again tried to colonise the island in 1664 but abandoned it finally in 1710.

The Dutch were followed by the French in 1715, who named the island Ile de France, but only occupied it in 1721. However, it was in 1735 that this tropical island was developed under the governance of Mahé de Labourdonnais, ‘the father of the island’. He transformed Port Louis into a working port and capital and was responsible for setting up a shipbuilding industry. Wheat and cotton were grown, while the production of sugar-cane was increased. The Governor’s foresight extended to road building, the construction of Government House, a hospital and houses, thereby converting Mauritius into a thriving colony. But Ile de France declined in the mid 18th century and after a mini-revolution in 1790, Mauritius became self-governing for 13 years until Napoleon dispatched a governor to reinstate law and order.

There followed the ‘Golden Age of Piracy’ during which the corsairs, protected by the French, launched their attacks from Mauritius on British ships en route to the fabled East Indies. In 1802 the British blockaded the island in the hope of weakening this key French position, thereby defending their ‘Jewel in the Crown’, India.

The French won the naval Battle of Grand Port in 1810 (famous for being the only naval battle won under Napoleon), the British retaliating successfully at Cap Malheureux in the north later in the year.

Under the Treaty of Paris of 1814 after the defeat of Napoleon, the island was ceded to Britain and reverted to the Dutch name, Mauritius. The first British Governor, Robert Farquhar, magnanimously permitted the French residents to retain their way of life. To this day French is spoken throughout the island. Under Farquhar the island flourished and agriculture became the mainstay of the economy when sugar production increased and Port Louis became a free-trade area. When slavery was abolished in 1835, nearly a quarter of a million Hindus and Muslims left India for Mauritius as indentured labour under an immigration scheme to work on the sugar-cane plantations.

The small country finally gained its independence from Britain in 1968 with Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam as prime minister, a man of vision who was awarded the United Nations prize for Human Rights and was chairman of the OAU during 1976-1977. Mauritius remained in the British Commonwealth with the Queen as its head represented by a Governor-General until 1992 when it became a republic.

Hotels in Ile Maurice, Mauritius

Paradise Cove Hotel & Spa

Paradise Cove Hotel & Spa

Anse la Raie, Ile Maurice, Mauritius

Oceanfront resort built around a natural cove and private beachfront. Secluded coves are available for couples. The Boat House provides all water sports such as Catamaran, Deep Sea Fishing and more.


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