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About Mauritius



Where is Mauritius Located?

Mauritius is a small island nation, covering an area of about 1900 Km2, in the south west Indian Ocean and lies approximately 900 km east of Madagascar.
Location Of Mauritius

Origin

According to geologists the island emerged, million of years ago, through volcanic activities on the Mascarenes submarine plateau. These volcanic activities which lasted until about 100,000 years ago shaped the island.
The Mascarenes submarine plateau is a submerged land.
It is thought that this plateau has been part of a large continent named Gondwana (from Sanskrit gondavana - “forest of the Gonds"), by Austrian scientist Eduard Suess.
Mauritius & Gondwana Continent
Schematic map of part of the Gondwana continent before drifting.
Map Courtesy: mantleplumes.org
Gondwana had broken up million of years ago as a consequence of enormous pressure exerted by drifts in the continents.
Isolated in the Indian Ocean basin, the existence of Mauritius remained unknown to human till man started sailing the ocean and travelled to the island.

History

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to discover the island. By that time, however, the existence of the island was already known to the Arabs.
Neither the Arabs nor the Portuguese settled here.
The Dutch were accidentally driven to its shore in 1598 and decided to colonise the island in 1638. They resentfully abandoned it in 1710 after two unsuccessful attempts to make the colony a prosperous one.
The departure of the Hollanders opened the way for the arrival of French settlers who renamed the island Île de France (literally:Isle of France.)
Île de France was impressively developed by the illustrious French governor Mahé de La Bourdonnais.
Later the British engaged themselves in a battle with the French coloniststo take possession of the island. Eventually the French General Decaen opted for a honourable capitulation on 3 December 1810.
The island was renamed to its former Dutch name and remained a colony of the British Empire till its independence on 12 March 1968.

Time Zone

UTC + 4
DST – No Daylight Saving Time is implemented.

Languages

English is the official language while French is extensively vehicled by local media and is commonly used in office dealings.
Mauritian Creole has evolved from a lingua franca to the mother tongue.
German, Italian and Spanish are spoken in many hotels.
Indian Languages (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Urdu and Bhojpuri) and Chinese (Mandarin & Hakka dialect) are more and more used to perpetuate ancestral culture and religious traditions.

Government

The Republic of Mauritius is a parliamentary republic within the British Commonwealth.
It obtained its independence from the United Kingdom on 12 March 1968 and Republic Day was proclaimed on 12 March 1992.
The head of state is the president and the prime minister is the head of government.
Mauritius Parliament, City of Port LouisMauritius Parliament, City of Port Louis

People

Mauritius has no indigenous population but is instead a diaspora of Indian, African, Chinese and French people.
Actual population is estimated at about 1.2m

Currency

The Mauritian Rupee (MUR, Symbol Rs or Rp) is the national monetary unit.
Notes are in the denominations of Rs2000, Rs1000, Rs500, Rs200, Rs50 and Rs25.
Coins are in the denominations of Rs20, Rs10, Rs5, Rs1 and 50, 20, 10 and 5 cents.
MUR 1 = 100 cents
The local cash payment currency is the Rupee. Euro or Dollars are very rarely accepted.
You can exchange your currency at foreign exchange counters located at the arrival halls of the airport or at banks across the country.
Bank opening hours: 9 a.m - 3 p.m on weekdays

Credit Cards

Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted in all major establishments and shopping malls. American Express is less popular.