TOP-40 interesting facts about Mauritius and Mauritian people
Mauritius is an island nation lost in the middle of the Indian Ocean, far away from the mainland and a lot of people. It is a Paradise Island with palm trees and coral reefs, where you can relax from the hustle and bustle of civilization. But, at the same time, it is also a unique country with its own customs, history and culture. In this article, we have collected 40 fascinating facts about this country and its people, which will help to form a first impression and interestingly plan your holiday in Mauritius.
40 most interesting facts about Mauritians and the Mauritian
So, let’s begin our journey through the history, traditions and sights of this amazing country.
1 The island of Mauritius was discovered by the Arabs in the 10th century, but became known to Europeans after the expedition of the Portuguese Diogo Fernandes in the 16th century. A little later, the Dutch landed on the island and gave it its modern name. Until the arrival of Europeans, the island remained uninhabited.
2. The first settlement on the island was founded by the Dutch, they also brought here slaves from Madagascar. But in 1710 the Dutch left Mauritius, fleeing an invasion of rats.
3. Since 1715 the island becomes a possession of France. African slaves continue to be brought here and crops begin to grow. The French also founded the future capital of Mauritius – the fortress of Port Louis.
4. Since 1810 Mauritius becomes a British colony. By that time, 70 thousand people lived here. The English began to import workers from India and China to the island. So the multinational ethnicity of Mauritius began to form.
5. Since 12 March 1968 Mauritius gains independence, but its formal ruler remains the British monarch.
6. Modern Mauritius is a parliamentary republic headed by a president. The island has a unicameral parliament called the National Assembly.
7. Mauritius is one of the few countries in the world that does not have an official state language. Most of the population speaks Creole, which is a mixture of English, French, Portuguese and Hindi. But English is used for official documents.
8. The majority of the modern population of Mauritius is descended from Indian descendants, followed by mestizos of French-African origin.
9. Because of the mixed ethnic composition of the island coexist several world religions: Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, and in the architecture neighbouring buildings in different styles.
10. The main product produced in Mauritius was and still is sugar. Sugar cane plantations occupy almost half of the island’s area.
11. Mauritius is considered the second richest country in Africa, with low unemployment and a high standard of living. Tourism and agriculture are the mainstays of the island’s economy.
12. Mauritius does not have an army. The police, maritime patrol and special forces are used to maintain order and security.
13. There is free primary, secondary and even higher education on the island. There is one university with several thousand students.
14. Speaking of Mauritius, it should be remembered that in addition to the island of the same name, the republic includes about a hundred small uninhabited islands overgrown with palm trees.
15. Until 2009 Mauritius was in the time zone UTC+5, but then it was decided to be closer to Africa and the republic moved to UTC+4. So now, the time difference between Port Louis and Moscow is 1 hour.
16. Mauritius is famous above all for its beaches and coral reef, which is considered the third largest in the world. A large part of it is located within the Saia de Malla Bank, where an experiment to create an artificial coral island was conducted at the end of the last century.
17. One of the most striking and famous sights of the island are the Seven Coloured Sands, which are located near the village of Chamarel. It is a small patch of dunes painted in seven colours and practically not subject to erosion.
18. Mauritius has many picturesque waterfalls, the largest of which Tamaren falls in seven cascades to a height of 273 metres.
19. Another attraction of the island are the craters of extinct volcanoes. Many millennia have smoothed their slopes, they are overgrown with dense forest, but still remain attractive to tourists. Mauritius has three such craters – Trou aux Cerfs, Kanaka and Bassin Blanc.
20. Lake Grand Bassin, located in the crater of a volcano, is considered sacred to Hindus. Here they hold their ceremonies, and on the shore stands a very beautiful statue of the god Shiva.
21. In the botanical garden of Pompleus, near Port Louis, grow huge lilies that can support the weight of a small man.
22. The mixture of different architectural and cultural styles is particularly noticeable in the capital. On the streets of Port Louis you can admire the Catholic St Louis Cathedral, the Protestant St James Church and the Muslim Jammah Mosque.
23. Cape Le Morne is home to a unique underwater waterfall. The sea currents and flowing sand create a beautiful optical illusion of the waterfall, visible only from a bird’s eye view.
24. The ruins of the French fortress Balaklava are also an interesting attraction of the island. It was destroyed by the explosion of an arsenal, at a time when the Crimean War was rumbling in Europe, for which it received its name.
25. Mauritius has fairly strict laws regarding smuggling, but coral can be taken off the island without restriction, unlike in neighbouring island states.
Character and customs of the Mauritian
26. The modern customs and culture of the Mauritians are of recent origin, with features of European, Indian and African traditions.
27. Mauritius has a cult of the family. Family interests are placed above personal interests, parents always help their children and make most of the important decisions for them: marriage, choice of job and profession, and so on.
28. Most marriages on the island take place within a particular ethnic group. Most often, the bride and groom are chosen by the parents of the future spouses. Wedding ceremonies are conducted according to religious traditions.
29. Mauritians are peaceful and friendly people who try to avoid direct conflicts and say what is pleasant for the interlocutor to hear.
30. Permission to carry firearms on the island is granted only to professional hunters. Tourists are offered to take part in hunting with a bow.
31. As a guest, it is considered good to try everything the hosts offer. It is not necessary to bring gifts, but fruit and treats for children are welcome.
32. Mauritian of Indian origin have a prejudice against the left hand. It is not customary to take or give anything with the left hand.
34. The Sega is the national dance of Mauritius. It is danced by women in colourful and long skirts, to the rhythmic sound of drums and triangles.
35. One of the symbols of Mauritius is considered to be the extinct Dodo bird, which is even depicted on the national coat of arms. This large flightless bird was completely exterminated by European settlers. It was completely unafraid of people, letting them near it, and the Europeans beat the tasty bird with sticks.
36. Another symbol of the country is the Bouclé d’Oreilles flower, endemic to the island. Its large, bright orange flowers are a tourist attraction.
37. The highest point of the island, Petite Rivière Noire, rises only 826 metres above sea level. But it is a sheer, beautiful rock that seems higher and more dangerous than it really is. Several mountain rivers spring from it.
38. Many of the island’s mountains have unusual and beautiful names: Mouse, Cat, Thumb, Three Nipples, Death Mountain. On the neighbouring island of Rodriguez, there is the Rock of Lovers.
39. On the small island there are several hundred rivers and streams, which after heavy rainfall turn into turbulent water streams.
40. The southernmost point of the island, Cape Gri Gri is popular with tourists because of the legend that from it, you can see Antarctica. But this is not true. Antarctica is several thousand kilometres away from Mauritius and is certainly not visible.
Friends, if you know more interesting facts about Mauritians and Mauritius, please share them in comments. This country is full of amazing stories, culture and traditions, and many people would be happy to learn something new. We will be very grateful to you!