Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority

Mauritius Mauritius was named after the Dutch Prince Maurice Van Nassau.
Capital Port Louis
Location Latitude 20º south of the equator, Longitude 57.5º east.
Area 2,040 square kilometres, including Rodrigues and the outer islands.
Population 1.2 million, including Rodrigues and the outer islands.
Time +4 hours Greenwich Mean Time; +3 hours mid-European time.
Geography Mauritius’ white beaches are protected by a coral reef barrier that encircles almost all of the coastline, with the exception of the southern end, where it falls away and where wilder waters and dramatic cliffs can be observed. From the northern plains, the land rises to a central plateau dotted by lakes and extinct volcanic craters. A few uninhabited islets area are scattered around the main island.
Season Summer Winter
Month November to April May to October
Temparature 23ºc to 33ºc 17ºc to 23ºc
Occasional cyclones Wettest months: December to March  
Annual rainfall 900 mm on the coast 1500 mm on the central plateau  
Sea Temparature 22ºc to 27ºc.  
Date Event
9th Century Arabs discovered Mauritius.
16th Century The Portuguese visited Mauritius.
1598 The Dutch who were the first to colonise Mauritius, named it after their ruler, Prince Maurice Van Nassau. Ebony forests were destroyed by overexploitation and the dodo was exterminated. It later became the symbol of endangered animal species and conservation worldwide.
1710 The Dutch left Mauritius.
1715 The French took possession of the island and re-named it ‘Île de France’.
1721 Governor Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais founded Port Louis, which later became the capital. He turned the island into a prosperous French colony and a port of call on the sea journey from Europe to the Far-East round the Cape of Good Hope. He established Port Louis as a naval base and built roads and bridges. Among his other achievements are the building of the Government House, the Line Barracks, and Château de Mon Plaisir at Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens. Nowadays, Labourdonnais’ statue stands guard, facing Port Louis harbour.
1810 A major naval battle took place in Grand Port on the south-east coast of the island in this year. It was the only naval battle won by Napoleon, and is thus duly engraved on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. However, three months later, the British launched a surprise attack from the north of the island and the French governor General Charles Decaen surrendered.
1814 The 1814 Treaty of Paris ratified the cession of Mauritius and its dependencies, Rodrigues and Seychelles, to the British. Réunion Island, which was also captured by the British, was returned to France. The island took its former name of Mauritius, and English became the official language. However, according to the Treaty of Paris, the population was to keep its language, its religion and its laws. This is the reason why French is still widely spoken, despite the fact that the British ruled the island for 158 years.
1835 The British Abolished Slavery. As the newly freed slaves refused to work in the plantations, indentured labourers were brought in from India. Chinese and Muslim traders were also attracted to these shores – hence the melting pot which now constitutes the population of Mauritius.
1968 Mauritius gained its independence. Sir Seewosagur Ramgoolam became the first Prime Minister. Mauritius still forms part of the British Commonwealth and follows the Westminster pattern of Government.
1992 Mauritius became a Republic.
Language English is the official language. French and Creole are commonly used. Hindi & Bhojpuri are also spoken. Many hotel employees are fluent in German, Italian and Spanish. The Mauritian literacy rate hovers around 90%.
Government The democratic state is based on the Westminster model. There are 62 Members of Parliament, and elections are held every five years. The President is the head of the state but constitutional power is vested in the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.
Economy The Mauritian Economy rests on four main pillars: tourism; sugar; textiles and the services sector.
Telecommunication International direct dialling facilities are available throughout the island. International phone cards are available for purchase at many shops . Post offices operate in most towns and villages. Internet services are readily available at cybercafés. Most hotels provide postal and Internet services.
Religion Mauritius is a melting pot of cultures. Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism co-exist peacefully.
Currency The Mauritian Rupee (MRU) Coins: 5c, 20c, 50 c , 1 MRU , 5 MRU and 10 MRU Notes: 25 MRU, 50 MRU, 100 MRU, 200 MRU, 500 MRU, 1000 MRU and 2000 MRU. Change counters are available at the airport. Foreign currency notes, drafts and travellers’ cheques may be carried to Mauritius without restriction.
Working Hours Private sector: Monday to Friday – 8.30am-4.15pm; Saturday – 9.00am-12.00pm (some offices). Saturday – 9.00am-12.00pm (reduced staff). Public sector: Monday to Friday – 9.00am-4.00pm; Saturday – 9.00am-12.00pm (reduced staff).
Banking Hours Monday to Thursday: 09.15am-3.15pm Friday: 09 15am-5.00pm. Banks operate in accordance with the arrival and departure of international flights at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport.

Ashvin  Sawmynaden