Monday, August 30, 2010

MAURITIUS - Country profile

Although known to Arab and Malay sailors as early as the 10th century,
Mauritius was first explored by the Portuguese in the 16th century
and subsequently settled by the Dutch
- who named it in honor of Prince Maurits van NASSAU -
in the 17th century. The French assumed control in 1715,
developing the island into an important naval base
overseeing Indian Ocean trade,
and establishing a plantation economy of sugar cane.
The British captured the island in 1810, during the Napoleonic Wars.
Mauritius remained a strategically important British naval base,
and later an air station, playing an important role during World War II
for anti-submarine and convoy operations,
as well as the collection of signals intelligence.
Independence from the UK was attained in 1968.
A stable democracy with regular free elections
and a positive human rights record,
the country has attracted considerable foreign investment
and has earned one of Africa's highest per capita incomes.
Recent poor weather, declining sugar prices, and declining textile
and apparel production, have slowed economic growth,
leading to some protests over standards of living in the Creole community.


The flag of Mauritius was adopted upon independence, March 12, 1968. It consists of four horizontal stripes of equal width, colored (from top to bottom) red, blue, yellow, and green :

  • Red : for the blood shed in the struggle for independence
  • Blue : the Indian Ocean, in the middle of which Mauritius is situated
  • Yellow : the new light of independence shining over the island and the golden sunshine
  • Green : the lush vegetation of the island.

The flag was recorded at the College of Arms in London on 9 January 1968.

National Anthem of MAURITIUS


Words by : Jean Georges Prosper
Music by : Philippe Gentil
Adopted : 1968

The music for "Motherland" was composed by Philippe Gentil, a member of the Mauritius Police Force's band. However, upon publication in a national newspaper, the band master, Philippe Oh San was erroneously credited as being the composer.

The lyrics were written by Jean Georges Prosper.

The anthem is short and briefly describes the lucious landscape of Mauritius. It also mentions the qualities of its people : peace, justice, and liberty.

English lyrics :

Glory to thee, Motherland,
O motherland of mine.
Sweet is thy beauty,
Sweet is thy fragrance,
Around thee we gather
As one people,
As one nation,
In peace, justice and liberty.
Beloved country, may God bless thee
For ever and ever.

Location :

Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.

Maps :

Area :

Total : 2 040 sq km
Land : 2 030
sq km
Water : 10 sq km
Note : includes Agalega Islands, Cargados Carajos Shoals (Saint Brandon), and Rodrigues.

Coastline :

177 km

Elevation extremes :

Lowest point : Indian Ocean 0 m
Highest point : Mont Piton 828 m

Terrain :

Small coastal plain rising to discontinuous mountains encircling central plateau.

Natural resources :

Arable land, fish.

Climate :

Current weather : tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; warm, dry winter (May to November) ; hot, wet, humid summer (November to May).

Population :

1 284 264 (2010 estimation)

Nationality :

Demonym : Mauritian

Ethnic groups :

Indo-Mauritian 68%, Creole 27%, Sino-Mauritian 3%, Franco-Mauritian 2%.

Religions :

Hindu 48%, Roman Catholic 23.6%, Muslim 16.6%, other Christian 8.6%, other 2.5%, unspecified 0.3%, none 0.4% (2000 census).

Languages :

Creole 80.5%, Bhojpuri 12.1%, French 3.4%, English (official ; spoken by less than 1% of the population), other 3.7%, unspecified 0.3% (2000 census).

Country name :

Conventional long form : Republic of Mauritius
Conventional short form : Mauritius
Local long form : Republic of Mauritius
Local short form : Mauritius

ISO country code :


Government type :

Parliamentary democracy.

Capital :

Port Louis (population of city : 147 688 -2003- Largest city in Mauritius)

Other major cities :
Beau Bassin and Rose Hill, Vacoas-Phoenix, Curepipe, Quatre Bornes.

Administrative divisions :

The island of Mauritius itself is divided into nine districts :

  1. Black River (Capital : Bambous)
  2. Flacq (Capital : Centre de Flacq)
  3. Grand Port (Capital : Mahébourg)
  4. Moka (Capital : Quartier Militaire)
  5. Pamplemousses (Capital : Triolet)
  6. Plaines Wilhems (Capital : Beau Bassin and Rose Hill, Phoenix)
  7. Port Louis (Capital of Mauritius)
  8. Rivière du Rempart (Capital : Mapou)
  9. Savanne (Capital : Souillac)

  • Rodrigues, an island 560 kilometres (350 mi) north-east of Mauritius, which attained limited autonomy in October 2002. It had the status of the 10th administrative district of Mauritius before autonomy was attained.
  • Agalega, two small islands about 933 kilometres north of Mauritius, famous for supplying chickens.
  • Cargados Carajos, also known as the Saint Brandon islands, about 402 kilometres north of Mauritius.

Independance :
12 March 1968 (from the UK).

National holiday :

Independence Day, 12 March

Constitution :

12 March 1968 ; amended 12 March 1992.

Executive branch :

Chief of state : President Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH (since 7 October 2003) ; Vice President Angidi Veeriah CHETTIAR (since 24 August 2007).

Head of government : Prime Minister Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM (since 5 July 2005).

Cabinet : Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister.

Elections : president and vice president elected by the National Assembly for five-year terms (eligible for a second term) ; elections last held on 19 September 2008 (next to be held in 2013) ; prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president, responsible to the National Assembly.

Election results : Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH reelected president by unanimous vote ; percent of vote by the National Assembly - NA%.

Legislative branch :

Unicameral National Assembly (70 seats; 62 members elected by popular vote, 8 appointed by the election commission to give representation to various ethnic minorities ; members to serve five-year terms).

Judicial branch :

Supreme Court.

Currency :

Currency Mauritian rupee (MUR)

Agriculture products :

Sugarcane, tea, corn, potatoes, bananas, pulses, cattle, goats, fish.

Industries :

Food processing (largely sugar milling), textiles, clothing, mining, chemicals, metal products, transport equipment, nonelectrical machinery, tourism.

Exports partners :

UK 25.55%, France 16.89%, US 9.51%, Italy 5.68%, UAE 5.47%, Belgium 4.93%, Madagascar 4.11% (2009).

Imports partners :

India 24.5%, France 14.02%, South Africa 8.55%, China 8.17% (2009).

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