Where Is Mauritius and What
Is It Known For?
Mauritius, officially the Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about 900 kilometres (560 mi) east of Madagascar, with the French island of Réunion 200 km (120 mi) to the southwest. In addition to the island of Mauritius, the Republic includes the islands of Cargados Carajos, Rodrigues and the Agalega Islands.
The main island of Mauritius is volcanic in origin and has a coral coast, rising to a central plateau. Most of the population lives on the north and west sides of the island.
Most Mauritians are at least bilingual. English is the official language, but it is not spoken much in day-to-day communication. Creole, which is spoken by 90 percent of the population, was developed in the 18th century by slaves who used a pidgin language to communicate with each other as well as with their French masters, who did not understand the various African languages. The pidgin evolved with later generations to become a useful, casual language. Most newspapers and television programs are in French.
The island of Mauritius is renowned for having been the only known home of the dodo. First sighted by Europeans around 1600 on Mauritius, this bird was an easy prey to settlers due to its weight and inability to fly. It became extinct less than eighty years later.
The economy is based on sugar production, light manufacturing (chiefly clothing) and tourism.