Facts & figures
Full name: The Republic of Mauritius
Population: 1.3 million (UN, 2012)
Capital and largest city: Port Louis
Area: 2,040 sq km (788 sq miles)
Major languages: English (official), Creole, French, Indian languages
Major religions: Hinduism, Christianity, Islam
Life expectancy: 70 years (men), 77 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 Mauritian rupee=100 cents
Main exports: Sugar, clothing, tea, jewellery
GNI per capita: US $8,040 (World Bank, 2011)
Internet domain: .mu
International dialling code: +230
Parliament chose its speaker, Rajkeswur Purryag, as president in July 2012 after the resignation of Anerood Jugnauth.
President Jugnauth stepped down in March in order to join the opposition to Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam.
President Purryag is a longstanding member of the Labour Party leadership and served as Mr Ramgoolam's deputy until being chosen as speaker of parliament in 2000.
Visa & travel advice
A visa is an official acknowledgement issued by the Immigration Office/Embassy/Consular of Mauritius, indicating that your application to enter Mauritius has been reviewed by an Immigration Officer and that the officer has determined you are eligible to enter or transit in Mauritius for a specific purpose.
A visa, therefore, simply allows the bearer to travel to Mauritius up a port of entry and does not implicitly guarantee right of admission into Mauritius. The final decision to admit a non-citizen rests with the Immigration Officer after examination at the point of entry in Mauritius. He/she decides how long the person can stay for any particular visit.
- Best period:
Temperatures usually remain stable throughout the year, and rainfall is only occasional.
Generally speaking, Mauritius is a safe and stable island.
After a brief Dutch settlement, French immigrants who came in 1715 named the island Île de France and established the first road and harbor infrastructure, as well as the sugar industry, under the leadership of Gov. Mahe de Labourdonnais. Blacks from Africa and Madagascar came as slaves to work in the sugarcane fields. In 1810, the British captured the island and in 1814, by the Treaty of Paris, it was ceded to Great Britain along with its dependencies.
Indian immigration, which followed the abolition of slavery in 1835, rapidly changed the fabric of Mauritian society, and the country flourished with the increased cultivation of sugarcane. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 heralded the decline of Mauritius as a port of call for ships rounding the southern tip of Africa, bound for South and East Asia. The economic instability of the price of sugar, the main crop, in the first half of the 20th century brought civil unrest, then economic, administrative, and political reforms. Mauritius became independent on March 12, 1968.
The music of Mauritius is known for sega music, alongside the nearby Réunion island, though reggae, zouk, soukous and other genres are also popular. Well-known traditional sega singers from Mauritius include Ti Frére, Marlene Ravaton, Serge Lebrasse, Michel Legris. and Fanfan.
The Sega is usually sung in Creole (mother tongue of Mauritians). Many singers had thought of also bringing forward the English version of the Sega songs but later resolved not to proceed with it so as to preserve the uniqueness and cultural richness of the local music of Mauritius. The original instruments are fast disappearing, making way for the more conventional orchestra ensemble. However, all along the coastal fishing villages, the traditional instruments such as the “Ravanne”, “Triangle”, the “Maravanne” and the traditional guitar are still being used.
Mauritian literature is more than two centuries old. The island of Mauritius is home to many languages, and Mauritian literature exists in French, English, Creole and Indian languages. Major themes in Mauritian literature include exoticism, multiracialism and miscegenation, racial and social conflicts, indianocéanisme, and--more recently--post-modernism and post-structuralism currents, such as coolitude.
After independence in 1968 writers like Azize Asgarally and Dev Virahsawmy reactivated creole language, then considered as a "patois," and wrote literature, especially drama. The new generation of writers has expressed persistent concern with structure and more global themes.
While Kreol Morisyen is the most spoken language on in Mauritius, most of the literature is written in French, although many authors write in English, Bhojpuri, and Morisyen, and others such as Abhimanyu Unnuth in Hindi. Mauritius's renowned playwright Dev Virahsawmy writes exclusively in Morisyen.
Important authors include Malcolm de Chazal, Ananda Devi, Raymond Chasle, Loys Masson, Marcel Cabon, and Edouard Maunick. Lindsey Collen has been able to carve out a meeting of imaginaries in the unique social setup of this multi-faceted country. Other younger writers like Shenaz Patel, Amal Sewtohul, Natacha Appanah, Alain Gordon-Gentil and Carl de Souza explore the issues of ethnicity, superstition and politics in the novel. Poet and critic Khal Torabully has put forward the concept of "coolitude," a poetics that results from the blend of Indian and Mauritian cultural diversity. Other poets include Hassam Wachill, Edouard Maunick, Sedley Assone, Yusuf Kadel and Umar Timol.
- Film industry:
Hardly any information is available on Mauritian cinema. In 1987 the Mauritius Film Development Corporation was established to boost a Mauritian film industry. Locally very few films have been recorded and no production companies exist. The MDFC has funded some cinema's to satisfy cinemagoers, some 17 theatres are now screening mostly American and Hindu productions. Initiatives have been taken to setting up a local Audio Visual Trainin Centre to promote local filmmaking and a Film Industry Development Fund is soon to be started. But the main task remains to promote the islands natural resources and scenery to foreign film crews, offering them equipment and local support. Next to these ambitious plans the MDFC, in recent years, organized some film festivals in collaboration with other countries like Egypt and India. Some sources state some 50 (video) films are being produced annually, but no information on titles or filmmakers is available. The only reference to a local production is "Et le sourire revient" (1980) by Ramesh Tekoit and "A Lucy" (1993) by Radha Jaganathen, a native Mauritian who moved to France in 1960. Ramesh Tekoit, the only local director/producer with some international acclaim is now planning to bring the famous bestseller novel "Benares" by Barlen Pyamootoo to the theatre screens in 2004. Today the Mauritian local cinema is struggling for its existence. Due to the above mentioned initiatives a local film industry might develop in the next decades, but for now Bollywood and Hollywood are the main parties in the local theatres.
- Famous places:
Port Louis is the capital city and main port of Mauritius, Port Louis was constructed in the year 1735 by the noted French governor, Mahe de Labourdonnais. Today Port Louis is the largest city in Mauritius. Port Louis is surrounded by a mountain range, called the Port Louis Moka Range which makes it worth watching.
Grand Baie is the best and main tourist attraction in Mauritius. It is just not for night birds, but also best for those who love shopping and spend some time in leisure. Grand Baie is the seaside tourist village and large tourist beach of Mauritius. Grand Baie famous for the enchanting quality of its emerald
Chamarel is a village located in the district of Black River, on the island of Mauritius, east Africa. Here, tourists can see a dune with 7 different colors. The dunes are also known as the 'Seven Colored Earth', The uniqueness of the dunes in the village of Chamarel is quite popular among tourists. This village was transformed into the most famous tourist spots on the island of Mauritius since the 1960's. Imagine, in an area of 7.500 m2 wide spread fine sand sparkles with colorful different.
- Architecture history
With one of the highest population densities in the world, Mauritius places a high premium on housing. Hindus and Muslims tend to invest their life savings in real estate. Many creoles rent in urban areas. Their unique architecture is known for sharp roofs, long balconies, and canopies. Many of the traditional creole houses have been replaced in places by newer materials and designs. The government, in recognition of the heritage of the older houses, has campaigned to save their designs.