The Dutch Period

Mauritius History The Dutch PeriodIn 1598 the Dutch came into the scene when Vice Admiral Vybrant Van Warwick claimed the island for the Netherlands and named it Mauritius in honour of his ruler, Prince Maurice of Nassau (Pictured on the left). However it was not until 1636 that the Dutch established the first settlement on the southeast coast of the island where they built the first harbour. Today that location is part of one of the major flourishing towns of the country, called Mahébourg.


The Dutch introduced sugar cane, tobacco, Javan deers, wild boars and African slaves into the island. They used Mauritius mainly as a supply base on the route to Java, as their settlement did not seem to prosper. In fact, due to unforeseen calamities (frequent tropical cyclones and infestation of sugar cane plantation by rats) that affected their settlement the Dutch abandoned the island for good in 1710.

Five years later the French appeared on the scene and re-made history by being the second nation to settle in Mauritius with pride, glory and success. Click here to find out more about that French period settlement.

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