Two UNESCO Heritage Sites Define Mauritius’ History

The exotic Island nation currently plays host to two UNESCO heritage sites: Aapravasi Ghat (inscribed in 2006) and Le Morne Brabant (inscribed in 2008). Although both differ in the sense that Le Morne Brabant is a natural landscape while Aapravasi Ghat, on the other hand, is a man-made construction project.

According to documented facts, these two heritage sites are iconic to the early labour systems (i.e. indenture and slavery) which have hugely impacted the demography of present-day Mauritius.

Le Morne Brabant

This is a peninsula located at the southern region of the Island nation. The mountain is named after the ship, Brabant, which ran aground on the cliff in December 1783. The peninsula is greatly associated with mythical narratives describing it as a one-time refuge for evading maroons and slaves.

Following the February 1835 abrogation of slavery in the island nation, legend gives tales of how the evading slaves refuged there jumped to their death on sighting police officers dispatched to go inform them of their liberation. The site currently hosts monuments built as a memorial of the event to the benefit of the Mauritian tourism market.

Aapravasi Ghat

Unlike the Le Morne Brabant which is a natural landscape, Aapravasi Ghat – direct Hindi translation of “Immigration Depot” is a man-made constructed complex situated in Port Louis. It is renowned as the Immigration Deport through which labourers native to India were transported to plantations across the British Empire within the year 1849 to 1923.

The large influx of the Indian labourers is largely responsible for the current Mauritian population with Indian ancestry to be as high as 68%. The cultural identity and history of the country are hugely hinged on the monumental Immigration Depot. Buffeted by a lack of maintenance, the entire complex has disintegrated to partial remains of 3 stone buildings only.