A concise history of Mauritius

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10th Century

FIRST KNOW HUMAN INHABITANTS

The island of Mauritius has a rich and diverse history, with the first known human inhabitants arriving on the island around 2,000 years ago. Over the centuries, the island was visited by various seafaring peoples, including the Phoenicians, Malays, Swahili, and Arab seamen.

The Phoenicians were an ancient civilization that flourished from around 1550 to 300 BCE. They were known for their seafaring abilities and traded with many other cultures throughout the Mediterranean and beyond. It is believed that the Phoenicians may have visited the island of Mauritius, although there is no concrete evidence to support this theory.

The Malays were a group of seafaring people from what is now Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. They were known for their seafaring abilities and traded with many other cultures throughout Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean. It is believed that the Malays may have visited the island of Mauritius, although there is no concrete evidence to support this theory.

The Swahili were a group of people from the East African coast, who were known for their seafaring abilities and traded with many other cultures throughout the Indian Ocean. They were also known for their advanced trading networks and their sophisticated culture. It is believed that the Swahili may have visited the island of Mauritius, although there is no concrete evidence to support this theory.

The Arab seafarers were also known for their seafaring abilities and traded with many other cultures throughout the Indian Ocean. They were also known for their advanced trading networks and their sophisticated culture. It is believed that Arab sailors may have visited the island of Mauritius, although there is no concrete evidence to support this theory.

In all cases, despite their visits, none of these groups settled in Mauritius. This is likely because the island was uninhabitable at the time, and there were no resources to support a permanent population. The island remained uninhabited until the arrival of Dutch settlers in the 17th century.


1510

Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas visits the island and names it Cirné.

The Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas is credited with being the first European to discover the island of Mauritius. He visited the island in 1505 and named it Cirné. The island was then known by this name for several decades.

Mascarenhas, who was a navigator in the service of King Manuel I of Portugal, was leading an expedition in search of a sea route to the East. He discovered the island while sailing in the Indian Ocean, and he named it Cirné after the island of Cerne, located off the coast of Portugal. He described the island as uninhabited, with a good port and abundant fresh water.

After this first discovery, the island was used by the Portuguese as a port of call for their ships traveling to and from the East. The island provided a convenient location for ships to stop and take on fresh water and supplies. However, the Portuguese did not establish a permanent settlement on the island. The reasons for this is not entirely clear, but it is likely that the Portuguese did not consider the island to be suitable for colonization due to its remote location, lack of resources, and difficulty of communication with the rest of the world.

It's worth to mention that, at the time the Portuguese navigators were the first to discover the island and have a considerable influence in the Indian Ocean trade, but their interest was mainly focused on trade rather than colonization, and as such, they did not establish any permanent settlements in the islands they discovered. The island of Mauritius remained uninhabited until the arrival of the Dutch in the 17th century.


1598

FIRST EUROPEANS CLAIM THE ISLAND

In 1598, the Dutch navigator, Willem van der Decken, is credited with being the first European to officially claim the uninhabited island of Mauritius. Van der Decken was leading an expedition on behalf of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in search of a new sea route to the East Indies. He discovered the island while sailing in the Indian Ocean, and he claimed it for the Dutch Republic.

After claiming the island, Van der Decken named it after Maurice, Prince of Orange and Count of Nassau, who was the head of state of the Dutch Republic at the time. The island was then known as Maurits Eyland, which means "Maurice's Island" in Dutch. This name was later anglicized to "Mauritius".

The Dutch were primarily interested in the island for its strategic location in the Indian Ocean and its potential as a waystation for ships traveling to and from the East Indies. They initially established a small settlement on the island, with the main purpose of collecting fresh water and supplies for their ships. However, the colony was not successful and the Dutch abandoned it after a few years. They did not attempt to establish a permanent settlement again.

It is worth to mention that the Dutch was the first European power to officially claim the island, but they were not the first Europeans to discover it, as it was discovered by the Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas in 1505, and named it Cirné.

Despite their failure to establish a permanent settlement, the Dutch claim and naming of the island was an important event in the island's history, as it marked the beginning of European interest in the island and laid the foundation for future colonization and development of the island.


1664-1710

DUTCH WITHDRAW FROM THE ISLAND

The Dutch made several attempts to colonize the island of Mauritius between 1664 and 1710. However, all of these attempts were ultimately unsuccessful and the Dutch withdrew from the island.

The first Dutch settlement on the island was established in 1638, with the main purpose of collecting fresh water and supplies for their ships. However, the colony was not successful, and the Dutch abandoned it after a few years. They did not attempt to establish a permanent settlement again until 1664, when a new expedition was sent to the island with the intention of establishing a permanent colony.

This second attempt at colonization was also unsuccessful, due in large part to the harsh conditions on the island and the lack of resources. The Dutch settlers were plagued by disease and struggled to survive in the unfamiliar tropical environment. Additionally, the island's dense forests and rugged terrain made it difficult to establish agriculture and other forms of economic activity.

In 1672, the Dutch attempted to establish a new colony on the island, but this effort was also unsuccessful. In the end, the Dutch withdrew from the island in 1710, after repeated attempts at colonization had failed.

During this time, the dodo - a unique bird found only on Mauritius - had become extinct. The dodo was a flightless bird that lived on the island and was a easy prey for the Dutch settlers and the animals they brought with them, like pigs and rats. The bird's extinction is a reminder of the destructive impact that human activity can have on the environment and wildlife.

It is worth to mention that the Dutch were not the only Europeans to visit the island during this period, but they were the only one to establish settlements. The island remained uninhabited until the arrival of French settlers in 1715 who established a colony and developed the island's economy through the cultivation of sugar cane.


1715

FRENCH INDIA COMPANY CLAIM ISLAND

In 1715, the French East India Company claimed the island of Mauritius for France. This marked the beginning of French colonization of the island and the start of a new period in its history.

The French East India Company, also known as the Compagnie des Indes Orientales, was a powerful French trading company that was founded in 1664. The company was granted a monopoly on French trade in the East Indies and was responsible for establishing French colonies and trading posts in India and other parts of Asia.

The French East India Company sent an expedition to the island of Mauritius in 1715, led by Guillaume Dufresne d'Arsel. The expedition established a small settlement on the island, which was used as a trading post for the French East India Company. The French settlers were initially focused on developing trade and commerce on the island, but they soon began to develop the island's economy through the cultivation of sugar cane, as well as through the production of other crops such as cotton and indigo.

The French East India Company's colonization of the island marked a new era in its history. The French brought new technologies and new forms of economic activity to the island, which helped to transform the island's economy and society. They also introduced new laws and institutions, which laid the foundation for the modern state of Mauritius.

It's worth to mention that the French colonization was not without its challenges, they had to face resistance from the native population, and also had to deal with natural disasters, as well as competition from other European powers, but they managed to establish a successful colony that lasted over a century.


1796

THE BEGINNING OF THE END TO SLAVERY FOR MAURITIUS

In the late 18th century, the French government attempted to abolish slavery on the island of Mauritius, which was then a French colony. This move led to a significant conflict between the French government and the settlers on the island, who relied heavily on the labor of enslaved Africans for the cultivation of sugar cane and other crops.

In 1794, the French National Convention, the revolutionary government that ruled France at the time, passed a law that abolished slavery throughout the French colonies. However, the law was not immediately enforced on the island of Mauritius, and the enslaved population remained in place.

In 1802, the French government, under Napoleon Bonaparte, attempted to enforce the abolition of slavery on the island and sent a new governor to the island with instructions to implement the law. The settlers on the island, many of whom were wealthy planters who relied on the labor of enslaved Africans, resisted the government's attempts to abolish slavery. They formed a rebel government, known as the "Mauritian Revolution", and declared their independence from French control.

The rebellion was led by a group of wealthy planters and merchants who were determined to maintain their control over the island's economy and society. They argued that the abolition of slavery would ruin the island's economy and lead to widespread poverty and unemployment.

The rebellion was eventually put down by the French government, which sent a military expedition to the island to reassert control. The rebellion failed, but it highlighted the deep-seated resistance to the abolition of slavery among the island's white settlers.

The French government managed to re-establish control over the colony and slavery was officially abolished in 1835, but the resistance of the settlers and the economic and social disruption caused by the abolition of slavery had a lasting impact on the island's history.


1810

BRITISH DEFEAT FRENCH IN BATTLE OF CAP MALHEUREUX

In 1810, the British forces landed in Mauritius after defeating the French in battle at Cap Malheureux. This marked a significant turning point in the island's history, as it led to the transfer of control of the island from the French to the British.

The Battle of Cap Malheureux was fought on the northeastern coast of the island of Mauritius, near the village of Cap Malheureux. The battle was fought between the French forces, who were defending the island, and the British forces, who were attempting to capture it. The British forces were led by Vice-Admiral Albermarle Bertie and the French forces were led by Governor Charles Decaen.

The battle was a decisive victory for the British, who were able to land on the island and quickly defeat the French forces. The French governor, Charles Decaen, was taken prisoner along with his troops, and the island of Mauritius was officially ceded to the British by the Treaty of Paris in 1814.

The capture of the island by the British was part of the broader Napoleonic Wars, a series of conflicts fought between France and the various other European powers from 1803 to 1815. The British had a powerful navy and were able to control the sea routes, which gave them a significant advantage in their efforts to capture French colonies.

The British established a new colonial administration on the island, which they ruled as a Crown colony until it gained independence in 1968. The British changed the economy from one based on slavery to one based on free labor, and introduced new forms of agriculture, such as tea and rubber plantation. They also developed the infrastructure of the island, building roads, ports and other public works.

During the British rule, the population of the island also changed, as indentured laborers were brought in from India, China and Africa to work on the plantations. This led to a diverse and multicultural population, which is still present today.

The British also brought in many economic and social changes that influenced the island, but also faced a certain level of resistance from the local population, which would influence the island's politics and society in the years to come.

Overall, the British rule had a significant impact on the island, shaping its economy, society, and political landscape. The island remained a British colony until 1968, when it gained independence and became the nation of Mauritius.


1814

In 1814, the island of Mauritius, along with the Seychelles and Rodrigues, were ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Paris. This was a treaty signed by the major European powers of the time, which officially ended the Napoleonic Wars and established the new political boundaries of Europe.

Mauritius, Seychelles and Rodrigues were French colonies at the time, but were ceded to the British as part of the treaty. The treaty was signed on May 30, 1814, by representatives of the British, French, Spanish, and Dutch governments.

The reason for the cession of these islands to the British was due to the fact that during the Napoleonic Wars, the British navy was able to gain control of the sea routes, giving them the ability to capture French colonies. The British had captured the island of Mauritius in 1810, after defeating the French in a battle. The Seychelles and Rodrigues were also captured by the British during the same time frame.

The cession of these islands under the Treaty of Paris marked a significant change in the political status of the islands and set the stage for the British colonial rule, which would last for several decades. The British established a new colonial administration on the islands, which they ruled as Crown colonies. The islands were used primarily for economic purposes, including the cultivation of crops such as sugar, cotton and coconuts.


1834

BRITISH ABOLISH SLAVERY

In 1834, the British government abolished slavery throughout its empire, including in the colony of Mauritius. The abolition of slavery was a significant event in the island's history, as it marked the end of an era in which enslaved Africans had been the backbone of the island's economy and society.

The British government passed the Slavery Abolition Act on August 28, 1833, which abolished slavery throughout the British Empire, effective August 1, 1834. The Act was a response to the growing movement against slavery, which had gained momentum in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and it was driven by religious and humanitarian concerns, as well as economic and political considerations.

The abolition of slavery had a profound impact on the island of Mauritius. Many enslaved Africans were freed and became free citizens, but they faced significant challenges in adjusting to their new status. The plantation owners, who relied heavily on the labor of enslaved Africans, were also affected by the abolition, as they had to find new ways to operate their plantations without the use of enslaved labor.

The British government compensated the slave owners for their loss of property, but the newly freed slaves did not receive any compensation. This led to a significant economic disruption, and many former slaves struggled to find work and support themselves. The British government introduced a system of indentured labor, in which workers from India and China were brought to the island to work on the plantations.

Overall, the abolition of slavery in 1834 was a major turning point in the history of Mauritius and it had a significant impact on the island's economy, society and politics, which would be felt for many years to come.


1835

INDENTURED LABOUR INTRODUCED

In 1835, the British government introduced a system of indentured labor in the colony of Mauritius, following the abolition of slavery in 1834. Indentured labor was a system under which workers, primarily from India, were contracted to work on the island's plantations for a fixed period of time, typically five years.

The introduction of indentured labor was a response to the economic disruption caused by the abolition of slavery. The plantation owners needed a new source of labor to replace the enslaved Africans who had been freed, and the British government saw indentured labor as a way to meet this need.

Under the indentured labor system, workers were recruited from India and other parts of Asia, and were brought to the island under contracts that specified their terms of employment. The workers were provided with food, housing, and medical care, and were paid a small wage. They were also required to work for a specified period of time, usually five years, after which they were free to return home or stay on the island as free citizens.

In subsequent decades, hundreds of thousands of workers arrived from India to work on the island's plantations. The indentured labor system had a significant impact on the island's population and society. The workers brought with them their own culture, customs and religions, which helped to shape the island's multicultural society.

The conditions of the indentured labour were not ideal, many workers were mistreated, and they were not always paid on time. There were also many cases of abuse by the planters and the government officials, which led to protests and strikes.

Overall, the indentured labor system played a major role in shaping the island's economy, society, and culture. It brought new people, cultures and religions to the island, which helped to create the diverse and multicultural society that exists today. The system was officially abolished in the 1940s, and the descendants of indentured labourers constitute a significant proportion of the population of the island today.


1926

FIRST INDO-MAURITIANS IN GOVERNMENT

In 1926, the first Indo-Mauritians, who were of Indian descent, were elected to the government council of the colony of Mauritius. This marked a significant turning point in the island's political history, as it marked the beginning of political representation for the Indo-Mauritian community.

The government council of Mauritius was established by the British colonial government in the late 19th century. The council was composed of elected members, who were primarily white settlers, and appointed members, who were mostly officials of the British colonial government. The council had limited powers and mainly dealt with local issues such as public works and infrastructure.

In the early 20th century, the Indo-Mauritian community, which was mostly made up of the descendants of indentured workers from India, began to demand greater political representation. They argued that they were an important part of the island's society and economy, and that they should have a say in the island's governance.

In 1926, the British colonial government responded to these demands by allowing the election of Indo-Mauritians to the government council. This was a significant step towards greater political representation for the Indo-Mauritian community, and it marked the beginning of a new era in the island's political history.

It is worth mentioning that this representation was still limited, the council still had limited powers and the majority of the population, which was of Indian descent, were not able to vote until after the Second World War. This was just the first step towards greater political representation for the Indo-Mauritian community, and the struggle for equal rights and representation for the community would continue for many years to come. Through the 20th century, the Indo-Mauritian political leaders would work towards achieving more political representation and more rights for their community, until the island would achieve independence in 1968 and the community would gain a greater level of representation in the government and society. The integration of the Indo-Mauritians into the political life of the island would play a crucial role in shaping the island's political landscape and society, and their presence in the government would help to reflect the diversity of the island's population in the governance of the country.


1942

COMMUNITIES GAIN FULL INCLUSION FOR THE FIRST TIME

In 1942, Donald Mackenzie-Kennedy became the governor of the colony of Mauritius. During his tenure as governor, he introduced a consultative committee, which for the first time included representatives from all Mauritian communities. This was a significant step towards greater political representation and inclusion for the diverse communities on the island.

Governor Mackenzie-Kennedy was appointed as governor of Mauritius in 1942, during the Second World War. He was a British colonial administrator with experience in other British colonies in the region. He was known for his progressive views and his commitment to improving the lives of the people on the island.

During his tenure, he introduced a number of reforms aimed at improving the lives of the people of Mauritius. One of the most significant of these was the establishment of a consultative committee. This was a new body that was established to advise the governor on local issues, and it included representatives from all the major communities on the island, including the Indo-Mauritian, Creole, Chinese and European communities.

This was the first time that representatives from all the communities on the island were included in a formal political body, and it marked a significant step towards greater political representation and inclusion for the diverse communities on the island. The consultative committee helped to provide a voice for the different communities on the island, and it helped to ensure that the governor was aware of the concerns and needs of all the island's inhabitants.

The consultative committee represented a significant step forward for the Mauritius, it was an attempt to give a voice to the different communities and to involve them more in the governance of the colony. It was a sign that the British administration was starting to consider the island's population as a whole and not just a group of subjects. However it is also worth mentioning that despite the establishment of this committee, the colony's government was still controlled by the British administration and the power was still concentrated on the hands of a small minority of the population.


1957

WESTMINSTER MODEL BASED SYSTEM ROLED OUT

In 1957, internal self-government was introduced in the colony of Mauritius, with an electoral system based on the Westminster model. This marked a significant step towards greater autonomy for the island, as it allowed for the formation of a locally elected government.

The Westminster model is a system of government that is based on the British parliamentary system and it is characterized by the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches, as well as the presence of an independent judiciary.

The introduction of internal self-government in Mauritius in 1957 was a response to growing demands for greater autonomy from the island's population. The island had a diverse population made up of people of Indian, African, Chinese and European descent, and there were increasing calls for a government that would reflect the island's multicultural society.

Under the new system of internal self-government, the British governor retained overall control of the island, but the day-to-day administration of the colony was handed over to a locally elected government. The government was composed of a chief minister and a council of ministers, who were elected by the island's population. The chief minister was the head of government and had the power to appoint the other ministers.

The introduction of internal self-government represented a significant step forward for the island, as it allowed for greater political representation for the island's population and it marked the beginning of a new era in the island's political history. However, it should be noted that the power was still limited, and the colony's government was still under the control of the British administration, It was not until independence in 1968 that the island fully gained control over its own governance.


1959

SEEWOOSAGUR RAMGOOLAM ELECTED

In 1959, the first elections under universal adult suffrage were held in the colony of Mauritius and they were won by the Labour Party, led by Seewoosagur Ramgoolam. This was a significant moment in the island's political history, as it marked the first time that all adults on the island, regardless of race or ethnicity, were able to vote and participate in the political process.

Universal adult suffrage is the principle that all adult citizens of a country have the right to vote in elections. Prior to this, the voting rights were restricted to a small minority of the population, mainly the white settlers, and did not include the majority of the population which was of Indian descent.

Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, also known as Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, was a Mauritian politician and independence leader. He was the leader of the Labour Party, which was a political party that represented the interests of the Indo-Mauritian community. He campaigned for greater political representation and rights for the Indo-Mauritian community, and he was a strong advocate for universal adult suffrage.

In the elections of 1959, the Labour Party, led by Ramgoolam, won a clear majority, and Ramgoolam became the Chief Minister of the colony. This marked the first time that an Indo-Mauritian had held the position of head of government, and it was a significant moment for the Indo-Mauritian community.

The elections of 1959 represented a major step forward for democracy in the colony, and it marked the beginning of a new era in the island's political history. With the universal adult suffrage, the majority of the population, which was of Indian descent, were able to vote and participate in the political process and have a say in the governance of their country. It was a significant step towards a more inclusive and representative government that would reflect the island's diverse population.


1960

CYCLONE "CAROL" HITS ISLAND

In 1960, the island of Mauritius was hit by a devastating cyclone, named Carol, which left thousands of people homeless and prompted a housing revolution.

Cyclones are large, intense tropical storms that form over warm ocean waters. They are characterized by strong winds, heavy rain, and high waves. Cyclone Carol hit the island on January 20, 1960, with winds reaching up to 170 km/h (106 mph). The storm caused widespread damage, with many houses being destroyed or severely damaged. Thousands of people were left homeless, and there were also reports of widespread flooding and landslides.

The impact of the cyclone was devastating, it destroyed many of the island's homes and infrastructure, leaving thousands of people without shelter. The disaster prompted a housing revolution, as the government and the private sector began to work together to provide new homes for the island's population.

The government of Mauritius, led by Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, launched an ambitious housing program, which aimed to provide new homes for the people who had been affected by the cyclone. The program was based on the concept of self-help housing, in which the government provided the land and the infrastructure, while the families themselves built their own homes.

The government also introduced new building codes and regulations, which aimed to improve the quality and safety of the island's housing stock. The private sector also played an important role in the housing revolution, with many companies and organizations getting involved in the construction of new homes.

Overall, the housing revolution that was prompted by the Cyclone Carol was a significant event in the island's history, as it helped to improve the living conditions of thousands of people and it also helped to shape the island's housing stock and infrastructure. The government's effort to provide housing for the people who were affected by the cyclone was an important step towards a more inclusive and equitable society.


1966

CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO DISPUTE

In 1966, the British government forcibly expelled around 2,000 residents of the Chagos Archipelago, a group of islands located in the Indian Ocean, and many of them were sent to Mauritius. The British government then leased the islands to the United States for 50 years, and the US built a military base on the largest island, Diego Garcia. This was a controversial event in the history of the islands and caused significant disruption to the lives of the islanders and their descendants.

The Chagos Archipelago, also known as the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), is a group of islands located in the Indian Ocean, about 1,000 miles south of India. The islands were inhabited by a mix of people including the indigenous Chagossians, who were of African and Indian descent, as well as other groups of people.

In the 1960s, the British government decided to lease the islands to the United States, so the US could build a military base on Diego Garcia, the largest island in the archipelago. In order to do this, the British government forcibly removed the entire population of the islands, which was around 2,000 people. Many of them were sent to the nearby island of Mauritius, where they were forced to start new lives with little support from the government.

The forced removal of the islanders from the Chagos Archipelago was a controversial event that has been widely criticized. The islanders were not consulted or given any compensation for the loss of their homes and livelihoods. Furthermore, many of the islanders and their descendants have been fighting for the right to return to their homeland ever since.

The US military base on Diego Garcia has been used for various military operations, including the Gulf War, the invasion of Afghanistan, and the Iraq War, and it continues to be a strategically important location for the US military. However, the forced removal of the islanders and the establishment of the military base has been widely criticized for the human rights violations it caused.

The UK government has been under pressure to resolve the situation, in 2019 the United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of a resolution calling for the UK to return the Chagos Islands to Mauritius and several court cases were also launched, but still the situation is unresolved.


1968

INDEPENDENCE DAY

On March 12, 1968, the island of Mauritius gained independence from the United Kingdom. This marked the end of more than 150 years of British colonial rule and the beginning of a new era for the island as a sovereign nation.

The process of independence for Mauritius began in the late 1950s, as the island's population began to demand greater autonomy and self-rule. The Labour Party, led by Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, campaigned for independence and was elected to power in the 1959 elections.

As the leader of the government, Ramgoolam began negotiations with the British government for independence, and an agreement was reached in 1965. According to the agreement, the island would become independent on March 12, 1968, and would become a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, a voluntary association of former British colonies.

The independence of Mauritius was celebrated with a ceremony in the capital city of Port Louis, where the Union Jack was lowered and the national flag of Mauritius was raised. Ramgoolam, who had led the campaign for independence, became the first Prime Minister of the independent nation.

Independence was a major milestone in the island's history, it marked the end of colonial rule and the beginning of a new era for the country. Mauritius was now able to govern itself, make its own laws, and chart its own course in the world. It also marked a new phase in the country's development, as it would now be able to address the specific needs and wants of its population, which was diverse and multicultural.


1971

FIRST EXPORT PROCESSING ZONE CREATED

In 1971, the first Export Processing Zone (EPZ) was created in Mauritius. This was an important event in the island's economic history, as it marked the beginning of a new phase in the island's development and helped to spur the growth of the textiles sector.

An Export Processing Zone (EPZ) is an area designated by the government to promote exports. These zones typically offer special incentives and benefits to companies that operate within them, such as tax breaks and relaxed regulations. The goal of EPZs is to attract foreign investment and create jobs.

The EPZ in Mauritius was created to help spur the development of the island's textiles sector. The government provided various incentives and benefits to companies that operated within the zone, such as tax breaks and relaxed regulations. This helped to attract foreign investment and create jobs.

Between 1971 and 1977, the EPZ in Mauritius helped to create 64,000 jobs in the textiles sector. This was a significant achievement, as it helped to reduce unemployment and spur economic growth on the island. The textiles sector was also a major contributor to the island's economy, as it helped to increase exports and generate foreign currency for the country.

The creation of the EPZ in Mauritius was an important event in the island's economic history, as it helped to spur the development of the textiles sector and create jobs. It also marked a new phase in the island's development, as it helped to attract foreign investment and generate foreign currency. The EPZs and the development of textile industry was a major factor in transforming the island's economy from an agricultural based to a more industrialized one.


1971

STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED

In 1971, the Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM) party, which was backed by unions, called a series of strikes. This series of strikes led to a state of emergency being declared by the government, which lasted until 1976. During this time, the leadership of the MMM party was also imprisoned.

The strikes and the state of emergency were a result of political and economic tensions on the island. The MMM party, which was an opposition party, had been calling for greater government intervention in the economy, as well as for social justice and equality. The strikes were a form of protest against the government's economic policies and the perceived lack of progress in addressing economic and social inequalities on the island.

The government responded to the strikes by declaring a state of emergency, which granted the government broad powers to maintain order and suppress dissent. The state of emergency was in effect for five years, and during this time, the government arrested and detained many opposition leaders, including the leadership of the MMM party.

The state of emergency and the imprisonment of the MMM party's leadership had a significant impact on the island's political landscape. The MMM party, which had been a major political force, was effectively silenced, and its leaders were unable to participate in the island's political process. This also had a chilling effect on the island's political discourse, as opposition voices were suppressed and the government's power was greatly increased.

The situation improved when the state of emergency was lifted in 1976, allowing the MMM party's leadership to be released, and the MMM was allowed to participate in the next election. The event of the strikes, state of emergency and the imprisonment of the opposition leaders have been criticized as a violation of political rights and civil liberties.


1982

SIR ANEROOD JUGNAUTH BECOMES PRIME MINISTER

In 1982, Sir Anerood Jugnauth became the Prime Minister of Mauritius. He served as Prime Minister on two separate occasions, first from 1982 to 1995 and then again from 2000 to 2003. Jugnauth's tenure as Prime Minister was marked by significant political, economic, and social changes in the country.

Jugnauth was a leader of the Militant Socialist Movement (MSM), a political party he formed in 1983, which was a breakaway from the Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM) party. He was first elected as Prime Minister in 1982 and led a coalition government.

During his first tenure as Prime Minister, Jugnauth implemented a number of economic and social reforms, which aimed to modernize the island's economy and improve the living standards of its population. He sought to attract foreign investment and create jobs, and his government also implemented policies to improve education and healthcare.

Jugnauth's government also promoted the development of the private sector and the diversification of the island's economy, in particular, the development of the tourism and information technology sectors.

In addition to his economic policies, Jugnauth also sought to address social issues such as poverty, inequality and discrimination. His government worked to improve the living conditions of marginalized communities and to promote greater social inclusion and tolerance.

Jugnauth's tenure as Prime Minister was marked by a period of significant change and progress in the island's political, economic and social development. He was also a key figure in the island's politics, as he led the government for 13 years and was part of the political scene for over four decades.


1992

SIR ANEROOD JUGNAUTH DECLARES MAURITIUS A REPUBLIC

In March 1992, Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth declared Mauritius to be a republic, ending its status as a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth of Nations. The change of status marked a significant event in the country's history and symbolizes the country's desire for greater autonomy and self-rule.

The decision to change the country's status from a monarchy to a republic was not unexpected, as the idea had been discussed and debated for some time before the decision was made. The country's political leaders, including Prime Minister Jugnauth, believed that the change was necessary to reflect the country's growing sense of national identity and its desire for greater autonomy.

On March 12, 1992, Prime Minister Jugnauth announced that the country would become a republic, and the decision was met with widespread support from the population. The change of status was made official on March 12, 1992, and the country's first president, Cassam Uteem, was elected by the National Assembly.

The change to a republic marked a significant moment in the island's history, it meant that the country would now be ruled by a president, who would be elected by the National Assembly, rather than a monarch who is appointed by the British government.

The change also signified a greater sense of national identity and self-rule for the country, as it would now be able to chart its own course in the world. The decision to become a republic also helped to further strengthen the country's sovereignty and autonomy.

The republic status also had a symbolic meaning, as it represented a break with the past and a step towards a new future, in which the country would be governed by its own people and for its own people.


2019

BRITAIN ENDS CONTROL OVER CHAGOS ISLANDS

The United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued a non-binding legal opinion on 25 February 2019 stating that Britain should end its control over the Chagos Islands, located in the Indian Ocean, as soon as possible. The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, and its opinions are advisory in nature, meaning they are not legally binding but carry moral and political weight.

The ICJ was asked to provide an opinion on the legal status of the Chagos Islands by the United Nations General Assembly in 2017. The request was made in the context of a dispute between Britain and Mauritius over the sovereignty of the islands.

Mauritius, a former British colony, claimed that the Chagos Islands were unlawfully separated from it in 1965, just before it gained independence. Mauritius argued that the separation was in violation of international law and that the Chagos Islands should be returned to it as an integral part of its territory.

In its opinion, the ICJ stated that the separation of the Chagos Islands from Mauritius in 1965 was not in accordance with international law. The court found that the decolonization of Mauritius was not conducted in a manner consistent with the right to self-determination of the people of the Chagos Islands, and that the process of separation of the islands was not based on a free and genuine expression of the will of the people concerned.

The ICJ also stated that the continued administration of the Chagos Islands by Britain since 1965 constitutes a wrongful act and that Britain has an obligation to bring that administration to an end as soon as possible.

The ICJ's opinion was seen as a victory for Mauritius and a setback for Britain. The UK Foreign Office responded that the ICJ opinion was advisory and non-binding, and that the UK would not be returning the islands to Mauritius. The ICJ's opinion is not legally binding, but it does carry significant moral and political weight, and it can be used by the UN General Assembly to exert pressure on the UK to comply with the recommendations of the court.

Karen Thornalley

2023-01-13 06:24:46

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