The Dutch Period
In 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.
After the departure of the Dutch 1n 1710, Guillaume Dufresne D'Arsel, while on the route to India, landed in Mauritius in September 1715 and claimed the island for France. He named Mauritius 'Ile de
Prior to 1598 there was no human habitation on the island of Mauritius. At that time it was only an indigenous habitat with dense forests, peaks and mountains, streams and rivers, and some species of
After the capture of the island from the French the British re-named Ile de France 'Mauritius' and Port Louis was retained as the principal harbour. British administration started with Robert
About 7km north of Mahebourg, Vieux Grand Port has great historical significance for Mauritius. The Dutch made Vieux Grand Port their base and called it Fort Fredrick Henric. About 4km from Mahebourg
The well-planned wide streets in the old section of Mahébourg still bear testimony to this Dutch and French colonial past. After the French chose Port Louis as the main port Mahébourg declined into
The Dodo and other birds
The Dodo were huge birds of unknown species that existed only on the island of Mauritius which had no human habitation prior to 1598. Due to its short wings and bulky body
Rodrigues, 18 kms long by 8 kms wide, is set in the monochrome blue of a typical postcard scene representing some 200 square kilometres of lagoon. Rodrigues is remote, a part of Mauritius but 550km