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Island nation in the Indian Ocean / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Mauritius,[lower-alpha 1] officially the Republic of Mauritius,[lower-alpha 2] is an island country in the Indian Ocean, about 2,000 kilometres (1,100 nautical miles) off the southeastern coast of East Africa, east of Madagascar. It includes the main island (also called Mauritius), as well as Rodrigues, Agaléga, and St. Brandon ( Cargados Carajos shoals) .[12][13] The islands of Mauritius including Agalega, St. Brandon and Rodrigues, along with nearby Réunion (a French overseas department), are part of the Mascarene Islands. The main island of Mauritius, where the population is concentrated, hosts the capital and largest city, Port Louis. The country spans 2,040 square kilometres (790 sq mi) and has an exclusive economic zone covering 2,300,000 square kilometres (670,000 square nautical miles).[14]

Quick facts: Republic of .plain...
Republic of Mauritius
Motto: Stella Clavisque Maris Indici (Latin)[1]
"Star and Key of the Indian Ocean"
Anthem: "Motherland"
Islands of the Republic of Mauritius
Islands of the Republic of Mauritius
Islands of the Republic of Mauritius labelled in black; Chagos Archipelago and Tromelin are claimed by Mauritius.
Islands of the Republic of Mauritius labelled in black; Chagos Archipelago and Tromelin are claimed by Mauritius.
and largest city
Port Louis
20.2°S 57.5°E / -20.2; 57.5
Official languagesNone (de jure)
(de facto)[2]
Lingua francaMauritian Creole
Language spoken at home
Ethnic groups
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary republic
Prithvirajsing Roopun
Eddy Boissézon
Pravind Jugnauth
Sooroojdev Phokeer
LegislatureNational Assembly
12 March 1968
12 March 1992
2,040 km2 (790 sq mi) (169th)
 Water (%)
 2019 estimate
1,265,475[6] (158th)
 2011 census
618.24/km2 (1,601.2/sq mi) (21st)
GDP (PPP)2023 estimate
Increase $37.012 billion[9] (139th)
 Per capita
Increase $29,349[9] (61st)
GDP (nominal)2023 estimate
Increase $14.819 billion[9] (143th)
 Per capita
Increase $11,751[9] (73rd)
Gini (2017)36.8[10]
HDI (2021)Increase 0.802[11]
very high · 63rd
CurrencyMauritian rupee (MUR)
Time zoneUTC+4 (MUT)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy (AD)
Driving sideleft
Calling code+230
ISO 3166 codeMU

Based on verbal accounts and the 1502 Cantino planisphere, Arab traders in the Indian Ocean may have been among the first to discover and name the uninhabited island, around 975 AD, as Dina Arobi.[15][16] In 1507, Portuguese sailors blown off course from the Madagascar channel on their way to India visited the uninhabited island naming it Cirne ('cisne' or 'swan' in modern day Portuguese), Ilha do Cerne on 16th Century Portuguese maps.[17] A Dutch fleet, under the command of Admiral Van Warwyck, landed at what is now the Grand Port District and took possession of the island in 1598, renaming the uninhabited islands after Maurice, Prince of Orange. A succession of short-lived Dutch attempts at permanent settlement took place over a century with the aim of exploiting the local ebony forests, establishing a consistent sugar and arrack production using cane plant cuttings imported from Java together with over three hundred Malagasy slaves, before abandoning their efforts.[18] France took the uninhabited island in 1715, renaming the island "Isle de France". In 1810, the United Kingdom seized the island, and four years later, under the Treaty of Paris, France ceded Mauritius and its dependencies to the United Kingdom. The British colony of Mauritius included Rodrigues, Agaléga, St. Brandon, the Chagos Archipelago, and, until 1906, the Seychelles.[12][13] Mauritius and France dispute sovereignty over the island of Tromelin, as the treaty failed to mention it specifically.[19] Mauritius became the British Empire's main sugar-producing colony and remained a primarily sugar-dominated plantation-based colony until independence, in 1968.[20]

In 1965, the UK paid Mauritius and excised the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritian territory to create the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).[21] The local population was forcibly expelled and the largest island, Diego Garcia, was leased to the United States.[22] Ruling on the sovereignty dispute between Mauritius and the UK, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea requested the return of the Chagos Islands to Mauritius but had no legal jurisdiction in the matter.[23]

Given its geographic location and associated centuries of colonialism, the people of Mauritius became highly diverse in their ethnicity, culture, language and faith. It is the only country within the geographical constraints of the African continent where Hinduism is the most practised religion.[24][25] Indo-Mauritians make up the bulk of the population with significant Creole, Sino-Mauritian and Franco-Mauritian minorities. The island's government is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system and Mauritius has a high ranking for economic and political freedom being listed by the Economist's Democracy Index as the only country geographically close to Africa with full democracy.[26] Mauritius is the only African country with a very high Human Development Index, and the World Bank classifies it as a high-income economy.[27] It is amongst the most competitive and most developed economies in the African region.[28] The government provides free universal healthcare, free education up through the tertiary level and free public transportation for students, senior citizens, and the disabled.[29] Mauritius is consistently ranked as the most peaceful when compared to African countries.[30]

Along with the other Mascarene Islands and, especially the Cargados Carajos shoals, Mauritius is known for its biodiverse flora and fauna and its endemism. The main island is known for the demise of the dodo, which, along with several other avian species, became extinct soon after human settlement. Other endemic animals, such as the echo parakeet, the Mauritius kestrel and the pink pigeon, have survived and are subject to intensive and successful conservation efforts.

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