In the Indian Ocean over a thousand miles from the southeastern coast of Africa is the gorgeous island of Mauritius
#1. Mauritius was uninhabited by humans until the Arabs landed there in the Middle Ages. They called the island Dine Arobi. The Portuguese came next, calling the island Cine. Neither stayed.
#2. The Dutch Republic established a colony in 1638, naming it after Prince Maurice van Nassau. This colony lasted until abandoned in 1710.
#3. Five years later the island became a French colony named Isle de France. Due to its strategic position the island was known as the “star and key” of the Indian Ocean.
#4. As an important base on the trade routes from Europe to the East before the opening of the Suez Canal, it was fought over by the French and British during the Napoleonic years.
#5. Though the French won the naval battle of Grand Port, the British forced the surrender of the island three months later in December 1810. The French settlers were allowed to keep their land, French language and French laws.
#6. Under British rule Mauritius became the Empire’s main sugar-producing colony. When slavery was abolished by Parliament in 1835, the planters received compensation for their African slaves.