Prior to the Dutch taking possession of the Island, Mauritius is believed to have been uninhabited. Although it may have been identified by the Arab seafarers of the 10th century, one notable visit was when the Portuguese landed on the island in the early 16th century.

The Dutch Era (1598 – 1710)

The Dutch were in possession of the island between the years 1598 and 1710. It was named after Maurice, Mauritius’ governor who hails from Nassau. There were several attempts to settle in the island between the periods from 1638 to 1658 and from 1664 to 1710, after which it was finally abandoned and left to the pirates.

The French Era (1721 – 1810)

It was the French East India Company that occupied the island around In 1721 and renamed it “Île de France.” The settlement advanced at a slow pace within the first 40 years of occupation, until the French monarchy got directly involved in overseeing the Island sometime around 1767, displacing the French East India Company.

The new French administration brought in slaves who laboured through the establishment and maintenance of the sugar plantation until the war between Britain and France.

The British Era (1810 – 1968)

The island fell into the hands of the British in 1810 after which the ‘Treaty of Paris’, geared towards the restoration of peace, confirmed the sovereignty of Britain. The old name, Mauritius, was restored and then the British abolitionist movement generated sufficient pressure, leading to the end of slavery in 1835.

The slaves were replaced by labourers from India, who are ancestors of the today’s Indo-Pakistani population.


On March 12, 1968, Mauritius joined the Commonwealth as an independent state, with a head of state representing the British crown. The island nation made attempts to diversify the economy within the first year of independence but made little progress.

The government is focusing on the implementation of strategies to help develop other lucrative sectors.