Mauritius Recent History

The island of Mauritius, located in the Indian Ocean, was already known to Arab sailors in the tenth century, and perhaps was also visited by the Malaysians. But when the Portuguese navigator Mascarenhas discovered it in 1505, he found it uninhabited and so he left it, both he and other Portuguese explorers.

Instead, in 1598, the Dutch admiral van der Neck landed on the island, appropriated it by planting the flag of the Seven United Provinces (which were Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland, Groningen, Friesland, Overijssel, risen in 1579 against Philip II of Soagna) and gave it the name of Mauritius, in honor of the Prince of Orange, who at that time was in charge of “statolder”.

According to Abbreviationfinder, an acronym site which also features history of Mauritius, for some years the occupation of the island was mostly nominal but in 1638, when General Goyer built a fort on the southeast coast, almost in the area where Mahè is currently located, the real colonization began, because the first growers began to flow in from Holland. These, however, either out of incapacity or out of bad luck, did not get the desired results and in 1710 they left the island, destroying all the works already carried out and freeing all the black slaves brought from Africa.

Two years later, in 1712, the French of the East India Company arrived, who restarted colonization and renamed it “Ile de France”.

Among the various governors that the island had, one of the most important was Mahè de la Bourdonnaise, in charge from 1735 to 1746, who set the works according to the real needs of the area. Conflicts arose with the Governor General of the Dupleix Company, he was then imprisoned. In 1767 the French minister, count of Choiseul abolished the Company and placed the Ile de France under the direct government of the king of France.

When Poivre was governor, the island experienced a period of true prosperity, it became an important agricultural center; Colonial products such as cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla were grown there more widely.

When slavery was abolished, the settlers revolted by chasing away the various commissioners sent by the government to watch that orders were respected; therefore they continued to work according to their systems.

Then came the Napoleonic period and General Decaen, who ruled wisely, arrived on the island. Meanwhile the island had been renamed again and was called Bonaparte.

Mauritius Recent History

Then came the British who, after occupying Bourbon calling it Reunion, waged a tough battle against Mahè in 1810 and forced the French to leave; they were the new masters of the territory. At the time of signing the peace, France was reunited with Reunion but was forced to cede the island to the English who called it Mauritius which thus became a colony of the English Crown. In 1845 the abolition of slavery was definitively completed.

Thus began a long period of constitutional evolution until in 1961 the island achieved internal autonomy. Two parties were formed: the “Labor Party”, of the Hindu population, headed by the Indian doctor S. Ramgoolam; and the “Parti Mauricien”, led by the lawyer G. Duval, not favorable to independence but to a form of association with England; he feared, in fact, a Hindu prevalence and of the same opinion was the whole Creole and European population.
The elections for the Legislative Assembly took place in 1963 and the majority was the prerogative of the Labor Party, even if the growth of the other party had to be registered.

In September 1965 a Constitutional Conference met in London which sent the people of the island the task of deciding on their future. In August 1967 a coalition was formed between the Labor Party, a Muslim Action Committee and others; and this coalition had the majority which, after overcoming a certain period of unrest, came to the proclamation of independence on March 12, 1968. With the Constitution of 1969 the parliamentary monarchical government was confirmed.

Ramgoolam had been at the helm of the government since 1970. For three years he administered with the help of the Parti Mauricien, and had to face the opposition of the “Mauritian Militant Movement”, which in 1971 called a strike by the dockers, but then lost control of it.

The economic development was continuous even if the difficulty of increasing the price of sugar had to be overcome and in 1975 of a tremendous cyclone that destroyed a great part of agricultural production and tourist facilities.

Ramgoolam constantly increased his prestige for the linearity of his government and for the sagacity with which he maintained friendly relations with both the Western and Arab countries from which he had, in certain circumstances, aid, and also with African countries, in particular with Madagascar, while relations with England stiffened over the question of the Chacos archipelago, ceded in 1965, but claimed later, without result.

In the December 1976 elections the majority went to the Mauritian Militant Movement but it was always Ramgoolam who constituted the coalition government with the Mauritian Party and in the same year Ramgoolam always presided, as president, the session of the African Unity Organization, held in Mauritius.

The elections of June 1982 saw the blockade of leftist parties prevail and the president of the Mauritian Militant Movement, A. Jugnauth was charged with forming the government.

He immediately launched a vast program of reforms aimed at decreasing the country’s dependence on sugar production alone, and for this he made some nationalizations.

In foreign policy he claimed sovereignty over the Chacos archipelago, in particular on a small island, the Diego Garcia, which England had even rented to the United States which had made it military bases.

But the coalition government, with the arrival of the drop in the cost of sugar on world markets, found itself to stem a serious economic crisis as well as to resolve internal struggles between the various parties. He did not hold for a long time and in March 1983 the secretary of the Mauritian Militant Movement, P. Berenger, finance minister, left the office and then Jugnauth, after having founded the Mauritian Socialist Movement on his own, joined the moderate Labor and with this Assetto appeared in the 1987 elections, although the government had been accused of some episodes of corruption. And when Jugnauth decided to proclaim the Republic, disavowing the rule of the Constitution that established the power of the queen, exercised locally by a governor general, a sudden change of alliances came. The two Movements,

The new Parliament immediately issued an amendment to the Constitution, whereby Mauritius, in March 1992, became a Republic within the Commonwealth. As President, on 30 June 1992, C. Uteem, exponent of the Mauritian Militant Movement, was elected.

But that alliance, which had led to the National Union, which was victorious in 1991, the following year began to show signs of disintegration. Internal disputes, supported by serious episodes of corruption, in which the premier was also involved, led to the split and the government remained the Mauritian Militant Renewal Group, the youngest of the parties.

The Jugnauth cabinet was weakened to such an extent that only an opening of the government to other parties, such as the Mauritian Social and Democratic Party, blocked its fall.


In the meantime, in November 1995, it had been proposed in Parliament to introduce the study of oriental languages ​​in primary schools. The rejection of this proposal brought down the government, making it necessary to call early elections. These took place in the following December and saw the victory of the alliance formed by the Mauritius Labor Party with the Mouvement Militant Mauricien and Rangoolam was again in government.

He wanted to apply restrictive measures for the recovery of the economic situation, worsened by the increase in inflation, but the Mauritian Militant Movement did not agree and left the coalition, putting the cabinet in crisis.

Rangoolam was forced, in June 1997, to form a one-color executive that went on, more or less without shaking, until February 1999, when instead he was violently hit by the strong tensions that arose between Hindus and Creoles.