The history of Mauritius is soaked in stories of immigration, subjugation, slavery, exploitation and indenture.
A beautiful island of palm-fringed beaches, lagoons and coral reefs, Mauritius was formed due to volcanic activity around nine million years ago. This is evident from the craggy mountains jutting out of the landscape.
Mauritius is known as a honeymooner’s paradise, a luxury destination and a haven for water sports. But there is more to this beautiful island than holidays; its history is soaked in stories of immigration, subjugation, slavery, exploitation and indenture and it is a story of human perseverance and triumph.
The Portuguese were probably the first Europeans to set foot on the island in the early 16th century. But they weren’t much interested and it remained uninhabited until 1598, when the Dutch arrived. They named the island Maurice de Nassau or Mauritius in honour of prince Maurice Van Nassau of Holland.
They used the available natural resources like the indigenous dodo, highly-valued ebony trees and tortoises. Sugarcane, pigs and deer were introduced to the island. Today, the ruins of the first Dutch fortification can be seen at Vieux Grand Port.
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