MAURITIUS - REPUBLIC OF MAURITIUS

Mauritius, officially the Republic of Mauritius (Mauritian Creole: Republik Moris; French: République de Maurice) is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about 870 kilometres (540 mi) east of Madagascar. In addition to the island of Mauritius, the Republic includes the islands of Cargados Carajos, Rodrigues, Tromelin and the Agalega Islands. Mauritius Island is part of the Mascarene Islands, with the French island of Réunion 170 km (110 mi) to the southwest and the island of Rodrigues 570 km (350 mi) to the east. The area of Mauritius is 2040 km2; its capital city is Port Louis.

The United Kingdom took control of the islands in 1810, from France during the Napoleonic Wars, and Mauritius became independent from the UK in 1968. It is a parliamentary republic and is a member of the United Nations, Southern African Development Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the African Union, La Francophonie and the Commonwealth of Nations.

The main languages spoken in Mauritius are Mauritian Creole, French and English. English is the only official language but the lingua franca is Mauritian Creole and the newspapers and television programmes are usually in French. Asian languages also form part of the linguistic mosaic. The country's populace is composed of several ethnicities, including Indian, African, Chinese and French. The first European explorers found no indigenous people living on the island. The island of Mauritius was the only home of the dodo (Raphus cucullatus). This bird was easy prey to settlers because of its weight and inability to fly, and became extinct fewer than eighty years after the initial European colonization.

Being dependent on sugar production since its independence, Mauritius has since developed to a diversified economy with important pillars in financial services, business process outsourcing, tourism & Information Technology. Mauritius is ranked as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank, one of only four countries in Africa in this category. It has been ranked as the best governed country in all of Africa, five years in a row, finishing on top of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance. According to the Democracy Index, Mauritius is the only African country with “full” democracy.

Mauritius has adopted the British constitutional and administrative system with an elected chamber for members of parliament and a President (who is the Head of State) elected from the parliament and not through universal suffrage. The main source of law remains British common law, with elements of France's Code Napoléon also being used, a legacy of pre-1810 French colonisation.

Port Louis

Capital: Port Louis (20°10′S 57°31′E(
Official language(s): English
Vernacular: Mauritian Creole, French, English, Rodriguan Creole
Demonym: Mauritian
Independence: from the United Kingdom 12 March 1968. Republic 12 March 1992
Area Total: 2,040 km2 (179th) 787 sq mi. Water (%) 0.07M
Population: 2012 estimate 1,310,640 (151st)
ISO: 3166 code MU
Internet TLD: .mu
Calling code: +230

Etymology
Mauritius was first named 'Dina Arobi by Arab sailors during the Middle Ages who was also the first people to visit the island. In 1507 Portuguese sailors visited the uninhabited island and the island appears with a Portuguese name Cirne on early Portuguese maps, probably because of the presence of the flightless bird, the dodo which was abundant at that time. Another Portuguese sailor, Dom Pedro Mascarenhas, gave the name Mascarenes to the group of islands now known as Mauritius, Rodrigues and Réunion. In 1598 a Dutch squadron under Admiral Wybrand Van Warwyck landed at Grand Port and named the island Mauritius, in honour of Prince Maurits van Nassau, stadtholder of the Dutch Republic. France, which already controlled neighbouring Île Bourbon (now Réunion), took control of Mauritius in 1715 and later renamed it Île de France (literally, Isle of France). On 3 December 1810 the French formally surrendered after the Napoleonic wars. Under British rule, the island's name reverted to Mauritius Listeni/məˈrɪʃəs/. Mauritius is also commonly known as Maurice and Île Maurice in French, Moris in creole and मॉरिशस in Hindi.[11