Mauritius -- Geography --
Official Name: Republic of Mauritius
Capital City: Port Louis
Languages: English (official) French
Official Currency: Mauritian rupee
Religions: catolicism,isliam, hinduism, others
Land Area: 2,040 km2
Landforms:The archipelago was formed in a series of undersea volcanic eruptions. The island of Mauritius itself is formed around a central plateau, with its highest peak in the southwest
Land Divisions: 9 districts
Mauritius -- History --
The Portuguese sailors first visited it in 1507 and established a visiting base leaving the island uninhabited. Three ships of the eight Dutch Second Fleet that were sent to the Spice Islands were blown off course during a cyclone and landed on the island in 1598. In 1638, the Dutch established the first permanent settlement.France, which already controlled the neighbouring Ile Bourbon (now Reunion) seized Mauritius in 1715. During their numerous military conflicts with Great Britain, the French harboured the outlawed "corsairs" (privateers or pirates) who frequently took British vessels as they sailed between India and Britain, laden with valuable trade goods. In the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) the British set out to gain control of the island.Under British rule, the island's name reverted to the original Mauritius. Mauritius attained independence in 1968 and the country became a republic within the Commonwealth in 1992. Mauritius has been a stable democracy with regular free elections and a positive human rights record, and has attracted considerable foreign investment earning one of Africa's highest per capita incomes .
Mauritius -- Economy --
Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a middle income diversified economy with growing industrial, financial, and tourist sectors. For most of the period, annual growth has been of the order of 5% to 6%. This has been reflected in increased life expectancy, lowered infant mortality and an improved infrastructure. The government's development strategy centres on foreign investment. Mauritius has attracted more than 9,000 offshore entities; many aimed at commerce in India and South Africa while investment in the banking sector alone has reached over $1 billion. Economic performance during the period from 2000 through 2004 combined strong economic growth with unemployment at 7.6% in December 2004. France is the country's biggest trading partner, has close ties with the country, and provides technical assistance in various forms.Mauritius ranks first among all countries in FDI inflows to India, with cumulative inflows amounting to US$10.98 billion. The top sectors attracting FDI inflows from Mauritius between January 2000 and December 2005 were electrical equipment, telecommunications, fuels, cement and gypsum products and services sector (financial and non-financial).
Mauritius -- Culture --
When it was discovered, the island of Mauritius was the home of a previously unknown species of bird, which the Portuguese named the dodo (simpleton), as they appeared to be not too bright. However, by 1681, all dodos had been killed by the settlers or by their domesticated animals.The island has also given rise to a diversified literature, prominent in the French, English, and Creole languages. Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio, the 2008 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, is of Franco-Mauritian origin and lives on the island for part of each year.
Mauritius -- Political system, law and government --
Prime Minister: Navin Ramgoolam
Mauritius is a parliamentary democracy similar in structure to the United Kingdom. The head of state of Mauritius is the President, who is elected for a five-year term by the National Assembly, the unicameral Mauritian parliament. The National Assembly consists of 62 members elected directly by popular vote, with between four and eight further members appointed from "best losers" election candidates to represent ethnic minorities, if under represented after the elections. The government is headed by the prime minister and a council of ministers.Historically, elections have always had a tendency to adhere to a system comprising two major coalitions of parties.Mauritius does not have a standing army but it does have a Coast Guard and security and police forces.