Under the Capricorn and very isolated in the Indian Ocean, this tropical island is a veritable melting pot. There is no official language, although English and French are just about as commonly spoken as Hindi and Hakka. Creole is the lingua franca to unite this small but incredibly divers universe composed of myriad micro-climates, vegetation zones and stages of tropical abundance; fringed by white sandy beaches and one of the world’s most beautiful coral reefs. Mauritius is home to equally diverse races and species from around the world. Its inhabitants originate from many continents; speak in many languages, sing their own particular songs and live their religions and ethnic lifestyles unabashedly. They all form a close-knit and colourful island society, a Rainbow Nation, in which almost all are related and you will never find someone who doesn’t at least have some friends or relatives in common.
Over the course of time, Mauritius attracted many of the great seafaring nations of this world and received fancy names such as “Dina Robin”, “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” or “Star and Key”. Recorded history started with the Arabs who only visited briefly, then the Portuguese dropped by, en route to the Spice Islands; decimating gravely the turtle population. No people were found to inhabit the island, the first recorded settlers were the Dutch, but they only lasted a few years, driven away by calamities and bad weather and left barely more than the islands name and a few ruins behind; plus the myth of the poor Dodo. The French came right afterwards. They wisely imported most of the flora and fauna we see today and built the island up to such a legendary status that they aroused the jealousy of the British, who took over after a dramatic naval battle in 1810; the only one won by Napoleonic France against the British Navy. France and England had brought along slaves from Africa and Madagascar as well as labourers from China and India; the descendants of which still live on the island today. Slavery was abolished in 1835 and in 1968 finally, Mauritius gained its independence.