History of Mauritius

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 birds, unique among which was the famous Dodo.


In maps of the Middle Ages Mauritius is shown by an Arabic name 'Dina Arobi'. It is believed that Arab sailors knew the island as early as the 10th century, but they never settled there.

Then in 1507 a Portuguese sailor named Domingo Fernandez 're-discovered' the island. Between 1507 and 1511 the Portuguese paid brief visits to the island on their way to the Indies. To the Portuguese at that time, the island also served as a place of respite for damaged ships and weary crews. However, like the Arabs, they never established a settlement there. By the time they left Mauritius for good the Portuguese had already introduced animals like pigs and goats, to name a few, into the island. The Portuguese called the island 'Ilha Do Cirne' (Island of Swan).

In 1598 the Dutch found Mauritius and a new chapter in the history of the island began. Click here to find out more about the Dutch Period.

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