Mauritius Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Mauritius > Map Economy History

Facts About Mauritius

Background: Discovered by the Portuguese in 1505, Mauritius was subsequently held by the Dutch, French, and British before independence was attained in 1968. A stable democracy with regular free elections and a positive human rights record, the country has attracted considerable foreign investment and has earned one of Africa's highest per capita incomes. Recent poor weather and declining sugar prices have slowed economic growth leading to some protests over standards of living in the Creole community.
Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: Port Louis
Currency: 1 Mauritian rupee (MauR) = 100 cents

Geography of Mauritius

Location: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar
Geographic coordinates: 20 17 S, 57 33 E
Area:
total: 1,860 sq km
land: 1,850 sq km
water: 10 sq km
note: includes Agalega Islands, Cargados Carajos Shoals (Saint Brandon), and Rodrigues
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 177 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; warm, dry winter (May to November); hot, wet, humid summer (November to May)
Terrain: small coastal plain rising to discontinuous mountains encircling central plateau
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Piton 828 m
Natural resources: arable land, fish
Land use:
arable land: 49%
permanent crops: 3%
permanent pastures: 3%
forests and woodland: 22%
other: 23% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 170 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: cyclones (November to April); almost completely surrounded by reefs that may pose maritime hazards
Environment - current issues: water pollution, degradation of coral reefs
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: the main island, from which the country derives its name, is of volcanic origin and is almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs.

People of Mauritius

Mauritian Creoles trace their origins to the plantation owners and slaves who were brought to work the sugar fields. Indo-Mauritians are descended from Indian immigrants who arrived in the 19th century to work as indentured laborers after slavery was abolished in 1835. Included in the Indo-Mauritian community are Muslims from the Indian subcontinent. The Franco-Mauritian elite controls nearly all of the large sugar estates and is active in business and banking. As the Indian population became numerically dominant and the voting franchise was extended, political power shifted from the Franco-Mauritians and their Creole allies to the Hindus.

Population: 1,230,602 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  25.53% 
15-64 years:  68.24% 
65 years and over:  6.23%
Population growth rate: 0.88% 
Birth rate: 16.5 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 6.82 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -0.92 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 17.19 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  71.25 years
male:  67.26 years
female:  75.31 years 
Total fertility rate: 2.01 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Mauritian(s)
adjective: Mauritian
Ethnic groups: Indo-Mauritian 68%, Creole 27%, Sino-Mauritian 3%, Franco-Mauritian 2%
Religions: Hindu 52%, Christian 28.3% (Roman Catholic 26%, Protestant 2.3%), Muslim 16.6%, other 3.1%
Languages: English (official), Creole, French, Hindi, Urdu, Hakka, Bojpoori
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 82.9%
male: 87.1%
female: 78.8% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Mauritius > Map Economy History