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Mauritius

Population: 1 331 155

GDP: 11 900 000 000.00 $

Description

 

Although known to Arab and Malay sailors as early as the 10th century, Mauritius was first explored by the Portuguese in the 16th century and subsequently settled by the Dutch - who named it in honor of Prince Maurits van Nassau - in the 17th century. The French assumed control in 1715, developing the island into an important naval base overseeing Indian Ocean trade, and establishing a plantation economy of sugar cane.

 

 

The British captured the island in 1810, during the Napoleonic Wars. Mauritius remained a strategically important British naval base, and later an air station, playing an important role during World War II for anti-submarine and convoy operations, as well as the collection of signals intelligence. Independence from the UK 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.

Population

 

Population: 1,331,155 (2014).

 

Nationality: noun: Mauritian(s), adjective: Mauritian.

 

Ethnic groups: Indo-Mauritian 68%, Creole 27%, Sino-Mauritian 3%, Franco-Mauritian 2%.

 

Languages: Creole 86.5%, Bhojpuri 5.3%, French 4.1%, two languages 1.4%, other 2.6% (includes English, the official language, which is spoken by less than 1% of the population), unspecified 0.1%.

 

Religions: Hindu 48.5%, Roman Catholic 26.3%, Muslim 17.3%, other Christian 6.4%, other 0.6%, none 0.7%, unspecified 0.1%.

 

GDP

 

GDP:  $ 11 900 000 000.00 (2013).

Military Organization

 

No regular military forces; Mauritius Police Force, Special Mobile Force, National Coast Guard.

Conflicts and Disputes

 

Mauritius and Seychelles claim the Chagos Islands; claims French-administered Tromelin Island.

 

Mauritius  is consumer and transshipment point for heroin from South Asia; small amounts of cannabis produced and consumed locally; significant offshore financial industry creates potential for money laundering, but corruption levels are relatively low and the government appears generally to be committed to regulating its banking industry.

Geographical Information and Map

 

Capital: Port Louis

 

Location: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, about 800 km (500 mi) east of Madagascar. The main island, from which the country derives its name, is of volcanic origin and is almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs; former home of the dodo, a large flightless bird related to pigeons, driven to extinction by the end of the 17th century through a combination of hunting and the introduction of predatory species.

 

Geographic coordinates:

20 17 S, 57 33 E

 

Area:

total: 2,040 sq km

land: 2,030 sq km

water: 10 sq km

note: includes Agalega Islands, Cargados Carajos Shoals (Saint Brandon), and Rodrigues

 

 

Land boundaries: 0 km.

 

Coastline: 177 km.

 

Natural resources: arable land, fish.