Mauritius: Country and Foreign Investment
Population, Language and Culture
The population of Mauritius is 1,322,238 (July 2013 est.), of which around 150,000 live in Port Louis. The official language is English, although Creole, French, Hindi, Urdu, Hakka and Bojpoori are also spoken. Arab traders were the first to land on Mauritius during the 14th and 15th centuries, however, the island was too far off their trade routes for them to form a settlement, as thought also the Portugese explorers who came after them.
The island was colonised for the first time by the Dutch in the 17th century; in the latter half of that century there was a wave of French immigrants who brought their African slaves with them. Britain took over Mauritius in 1810, abolishing slavery in 1835. To replace slave labour, indentured labourers were introduced, until this practice too was stopped by the British in 1922. After this, immigrants continued to arrive from Asia but not in the same numbers as during the indentured years. Ethnically, about two-thirds of the population is Indo-Mauritian, and most of the remainder are Creole. About half of the population is Hindu, with 28% Christian and 17% Muslim.
Mauritius gained independence from Britain in 1968 and with it lost the Diego Garcia Archipelago; this is still a source of dispute. Tourist numbers have steadily increased from 150,000 in 1985 to around 934,000 in 2010. Mauritius is a member of the Association of Francophone Countries, The British Commonwealth, and the UN.