The island of Mauritius,
part of the Mascarene Islands off the southeast coast of Madagascar, has been known since at least the tenth century, however formal recordings of its exploration were made by
Portuguese explorers in the sixteenth century. It was settled by the Dutch in the following century and named in honour of Prince Maurtis. It came under
British rule during the Napoleonic Wars and its strategic location made it an important naval and air base.
In 1968, as part of the process of granting independence to former African colonies,
Mauritius became independent from the UK in 1968 and in 1992 became the Republic
of Mauritius. Since that time, it has maintained a stable democracy.
Today Mauritius, with its population of some 1,284,264, is seen as an ideal
tourist attraction as well as having growing financial and industrial sectors.
However this rise in economic growth has seen many turn to industrialisation for
employment creating family strains, addictions and increases in crime. Despite the
overall wealth, for many living in Mauritius life is one of poverty, often
going to bed hungry without having basic needs met particularly in the
neglected rural regions of Mauritius and on the island of Rodrigues.
Even those in
more urban areas have seen levels of poverty increase following the recent
world financial crisis as, in addition to tourism, the economy mainly depends
on exports of textiles to Europe and the United States.
report "Pockets of poverty remain, and child abuse and violence against women,
sexual exploitation, increasing drug and alcohol dependency among young people
and the exclusion of children with disabilities all are cause of concern."
It is a little known
fact that Mauritius was the only home to the now extinct Dodo, and, in typical
European style, within eighty years of Europeans discovering the island and the
Dodo, it had become extinct being unable to fly or walk away from the colonisers
with the required haste to maintain its safety. The tourist video
above provides an insight into the island and life there.