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Mont Choisy, The Mauritius, once the Isle of France in English Mauritius is the island of the main Mauritius, located in the southwest of the Indian Ocean, in the heart of the Mascarene archipelago between Reunion to west and the island of Rodrigues to the east. The population is about 1.2 million. The capital of Mauritius is Port Louis, located in the northwest of the island.
Geography of Mauritius

The formation of the island is dated 7 and 10 million years. The island is original volcanic and even today, you can see the traces of the great caldera behind its formation. The island has over volcano. There are, however, dormant craters whose hole-aux-Cerfs , which has become over the years one of the tourist attractions. It is located in the center of the island, Curepipe. Mauritius covers an area of 1865 km 2. It measures in its larger 65 km long and 45 km wide. The highest point is the Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire , which rises to 828 meters. Its coastal plains and central plateau have long been the extensive cultivation of sugarcane and tea . The barrier reef that surrounds the island to protect the lagoons and beaches lined with coconut palms and casuarina trees .

History of Mauritius .

Mauritius was discovered by the Arabs in 975 [ref. needed] , and then by the Portuguese in 1507 [ref. needed] .’s first colonizers of Mauritius were the Dutch, they arrived in 1598 [ref. needed] . Then the island was colonized by the French in 1715 and then in 1810 came the English (1810-1968).

The Dutch period (1598-1710)

It is in 1516 that the Dutch first landed in Mauritius. They really could colonize the island this time, because the slaves brought from Africa had fled into the mountains upon arrival: it was the first chestnuts Maurice slaves. In order to maximize their new facility in Mauritius, the Dutch developed about 1641 the slave trade from Madagascar. However, few Malagasy slaves were transported to Mauritius during the Dutch occupation.
In 1598, a Dutch squadron, under the command of Admiral Van Wybrand Warwyck, approached Mauritius Mauritius which was named in honor of Prince Mauritius Van Nassau Holland Island. A small colony of settlers from the Dutch settlements of the Cape of Good Hope settled with slaves of African origin. Instead grow their new colony, the Dutch were content to plunder wildlife (hence the extinction, among others, the famous dodo, a kind of large bird that has abandoned its wings and have gained weight in the absence of predators) and flora (especially causing depletion ebony). In contrast, the Dutch introduced sugar cane and began importing Java deer, but they left the island with their slaves in 1710 following severe droughts and terrible ravages of hurricanes.

French colonization (1715-1810)

Abandoned by the Dutch, Mauritius became a French possession in September 1715 when Guillaume Dufresne d’Arsel accosted him, took possession of it and named it “Isle de France”. The first French settlers arrived in 1721 when the island was administered by the East India Company (from 1722-1767). We know that to compete with other European countries, Louis XIV and Colbert had created the East India Company in 1664. To attract capital, they had granted a monopoly of trade in the Indian Ocean for 50 years and had given him sovereignty over Madagascar and the neighboring islands and territories to conquer the future. In 1725, the French annexed Rodrigues which was occupied continuously from 1735 island. Remember, also, that the Bourbon (now Reunion Island) received its first settlers in 1665 (reminder Map 1). From the beginning of the French colonization in the Isle of France (Mauritius), especially between 1721 and 1735, several hundred (400 to 600) slaves from Senegal and Guinea came to the island. Since 28 August 1670, at the request of Colbert, the State Council of the kingdom had formalized the practice of slavery in France. West Indies, slavery was quickly assured the economic prosperity of these regions. In March 1685, was proclaimed the famous Black Code, an order of Louis XIV to regulate and temper the system of slavery, and specifying the duties of masters and slaves. We know that Black Code, which remained in force throughout the West Indies and French Guiana until 1848 (the date of the final abolition of slavery by France), was rarely respected, operators having is often their own way.
In 1723, the famous Black Code of 1685 was adapted for use Mascarene and letters patent of Louis XV, in the form of edict, were recorded in the Bourbon (Reunion) in the city of St. Paul, September 18, 1724, by the Board of Bourbon. This new Black code adapted to the situation of the island of Bourbon (Reunion) and the Ile de France (Mauritius) favored, since 1725, the arrival of thousands of slaves who came mostly from the island of Madagascar and East Africa to grow coffee and spice plants. This labor-intensive appeared necessary to allow the East India Company to continue the economic expansion of the Indian Ocean.

It is in 1735 that the Ile de France (Mauritius) began his real development with the arrival of his most famous governor Bertrand-François Mahé de Labourdonnais appointed by the East India Company, he led the colony from 1735 to 1746 and founded the city of Port Louis.

Mahé de Labourdonnais him to prosper the Isle of France (Mauritius) with the founding of several cities, including Port Louis, the construction of administrative buildings, stores, warehouses and military barracks. He encouraged the exploitation of forests for timber (and shipyards), the production of sugar cane and coffee culture, indigo and pepper. Port-Louis became the capital of French institutions throughout the region. While the Isle of France (Mauritius) had only 1,000 inhabitants, the Bourbon (Reunion) had in 8000 (including 6,000 slaves). From 1735, the governor Mahé de Labourdonnais made people Rodrigues, with the mission of collecting turtles and loading them on ships of the East India Company. Rodrigues reached its true population from 1760. A French garrison lived even permanently, the island was comprised of white settlers and slaves. In 1767, under the administration of the intendant Pierre Poivre (1767-1772), there were still only 32 in Rodrigues inhabitants: 4 French, 2 White Creole Bourbon (Reunion Island), 16 free and 10 slaves Malabars .

By Pierre Poivre, the “commissary” and Quartermaster General of the islands of France (Mauritius) and Bourbon (Reunion), the Mascarene Islands became a prosperous colony, organized and envied by the British. Pepper had introduced printing to the Isle of France in 1768 (the Royal Printing Port Louis) and, as he was a botanist and member of several academies of science, he acclimated to the islands of the archipelago amount spices (including, of course, pepper, as well as cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc..) and dozens of plant species, he also promoted the cultivation of fruit trees and was even the author of the first protection laws of nature, it is to him that Mauritians have the famous Pamplemousses Garden, home of giant water lilies and more than 60 varieties of palms. In addition, Pepper cleanses the moral and social climate of the Mascarene improving the lot of slaves in the archipelago. The population increased at the Isle of France (Mauritius): nearly a thousand people in 1735, in 1767 it reached 20 000, of which 15,000 slaves.

Historians have also established that the period of emergence of Mauritian Creole was between 1721 and 1769. This would explain that the Mauritian Creole still contains words of Senegalese origin actually from the Wolof language. This creole also contains large amounts of Madagascar and Comoros words, for a large number of slaves were also imported from the island of Madagascar and the Comoros.

July 27, 1793, the Paris Convention proclaimed the prohibition of the slave trade and a few months later, February 4, 1794, that of slavery. The decree prescribed “immediate abolition” but no provision on compensation for owners or future “liberated people”. Colonial Assembly of the Ile de France (Mauritius) spoke against the decree and asked insistently to the Convention its outright abolition. The settlers the Isle of France (Mauritius) and those of Bourbon (Reunion) did not obtain a stay and then decided not to enforce the decree of abolition. On 20 May 1802, the First Consul of the Republic, Napoleon Bonaparte, partially restores slavery. Economic interests were correct revolutionary ideals of freedom and equality. The settlers of the Mascarene Islands, which had not applied the decree of the National Convention, were evidently reassured. All the reforms of the revolution were also removed, to the great relief of all (except for slaves), including the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, adopted in 1789 by the National Assembly.

In 1803, General Decaen sent by Napoleon landed in the Mascarene to impose a new political regime. The colony was soon taken over by administrators appointed by Napoleon, who directed the affairs of Bourbon (now the meantime Bonaparte Island) Island from the Isle of France. But the Franco-British rivalry already virulent in the West Indies, were propagated in the Indian Ocean, and, especially as the French colony in the Indian Ocean could only attract the interest of the British. As the colony extended over a large area in the Indian Ocean, that is to say all the Mascarene Islands (Isle of France, Bonaparte island and Rodrigues) and the archipelago of Seychelles located further north, it could significantly harm to British trade. In addition, during the Napoleonic Wars, the Ile de France (Mauritius) and Bonaparte (Reunion Island) became the rendezvous of French corsairs organized successful raids against British commercial ships. It was time for the British to end the French hegemony in this part of the Indian Ocean.

In 1809, British troops began to occupy the island Rodrigues, what would be the first step in the conquest of the Mascarene Islands and the Seychelles. In fact, the British had gathered their 10,000 soldiers Rodrigues before storming the Isle of France (Mauritius) and Bonaparte Island (Reunion) in December 1810, they occupy the Seychelles in 1812. The last French governor of the Isle of France, General Decaen capitulated in the name of France, its forces are deemed too outnumbered. At the end of the French occupation in 1810, the population was 73,000 inhabitants and was 80% of slaves from East Africa for most, including Mozambique and Madagascar.

Under the terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1814, the French finally lost the Seychelles and the Mascarene Islands, with the exception of one Bonaparte (Reunion Island), renamed Isle of Bourbon by the English, who was reassigned to France. In the former colony of Ile de France (Mauritius), it remained the French presence that the French and Creole (in French lexical database). After just two generations, the language issue of African or Malagasy slaves and French became the mother tongue of the descendants of slaves: the Mauritian Creole (which was invented by the African slaves to the ‘master’ (French ) do not understand what they were saying).

British colonization (1810-1968)

After the Treaty of Paris, Ile de France resumed its previous name of Mauritius. In the act of capitulation of 1810, Article 8 specified that settlers could keep “their religion, laws and customs.” Although the Treaty of Paris of 1814 does not actually resumed this formulation, the new British government led by Governor Sir Robert Farquhar, admitted that the use of the French language was one of those “customs” that settlers could maintain. In fact, the British consented to what the people of Mauritius and Rodrigues continue to use their language, their religion, their civil code, their traditions and customs. Few and do not intend to live in the archipelago, the British were ready to make concessions. Social and economic changes were felt immediately. French officials were replaced by British officials in the administration and the whole economy is now developed as part of the British Empire. Many white Franco-Mauritians, including landowners and businessmen, decided to stay in the island and continued operation of sugarcane with their labor of African and Malagasy slaves. These whites constituted the group of Franco-Mauritians who continued to speak the French language. Supported by the Catholic clergy, they put up a stubborn resistance to government attempts at linguistic domination. As for their slaves, they were kept in their social inferiority and could continue to use the Mauritian Creole. Anyway, as the English were not looking to settle in large numbers in Mauritius, native continued to speak mainly French and Creole.

In 1832, the British colonial government imposed a first language policy: the English
language became compulsory for Mauritians in any communication with the British authorities. The following year, English became the sole language of Directors serving as hiring criterion in government services.

The biggest change came in 1835 with the abolition of slavery in all British colonies. The importation of slaves ceased in Mauritius since 1833 when the population was approximately 100 000 inhabitants more than 80,000 slaves. Before the needs of labor to work the sugar plantations, the British Government decided to use Indian workers paid contract, which is in 1829 as the setting for the first attempts to import agricultural workers in India. Between 1835 and 1865, more than 200,000 Indian and Chinese immigrants poured in Mauritius and radically changed the ethnic composition of the population. Indian immigrants, who were a Hindu or Muslim, quickly formed the majority of agricultural workers. As for the Chinese, they were added later and became shopkeepers.
The new Asian immigrants did not change anything about the social role of language in Mauritius. Franco-Mauritians were able to confine the newcomers in social inferiority Indo-Mauritian Creole then adopted as the language, enriched English or Indian words themselves creolized.

Moreover, in 1841, the teaching of English became compulsory in all primary schools in addition to French. Franco-Mauritians protested that the “poor niggers” were “forced to shout all day like parrots barbarous words” but nothing helped. Finally, in 1845, English became the language of the Supreme Court, but the lower courts, which still statuaient from the Code Napoleon, the French continued to use. In the early twentieth century, the Mauritian population was 371 000 and the majority of the population was already established Indians. In 1870, the island lost its strategic position on the occasion of the opening of the Suez Canal, and this event had the effect of moving the island of Mauritius in the Indian road and worse socio- economic. Until 1903, Mauritius and Seychelles were administered as a single colony by Britain. Then, Mauritius asserted more autonomy against the British crown. From the thirties, popular movements for democratization began to appear and gradually led to the right of universal suffrage and parliamentary elections in 1948. Nationalist movements were formed and, following a referendum, Mauritius became an independent state March 12, 1968, he was with a British-style parliamentary system. Since its independence, Mauritius is a sovereign country that is part of the British Commonwealth, and since the fifth Summit of October 1993, the Republic of Mauritius is also a member of the Francophonie (although three quarters of the population of Mauritius does not include the French but mostly English).