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Saturday 13th April
Mauritius Facts
Mont Piton is the highest point in Mauritius (828 m).

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to visit Mauritius.

In 1598 the Dutch claimed the island which they named after Maurice de Nassau, Prince of Orange.

The dodo was a large flightless bird, unique to Mauritius. Visiting sailors killed them and mammals introduced to the island, such as pigs and rats, ate the dodos' eggs.

It is thought that the last dodo died in Mauritius in 1681.

The French arrived in Mauritius at the beginning of the eighteenth century and founded Port Louis.

Mauritius, along with the Seychelles, was ceded to Britain in 1814 (Treaty of Paris).

The Abolition of the Slave Trade Act (1807) prohibited the slave trade within the British Empire. (Slaves in the British colonies did not gain their freedom until the 1830s. The 1833 Abolition of Slavery Act began the process leading to emancipation).

Following the abolition of slavery, indentured labour from India arrived in Mauritius to work in the plantations.

Mauritius achieved its independence in 1968.

In 1992 the prime minister of Mauritius declared the country a republic.

Mauritius retained its links with the United Kingdom through membership of the Commonwealth.

Before independence Britain separated the Chagos islands (British Indian Ocean Territory) from Mauritius.

In 1968 Diego Garcia, the largest island in the Chagos Archipelago, was leased to the USA for fifty years.

In 2000 the High Court in London ruled that the UK acted unlawfully removing the inhabitants of Diego Garcia from the island. Exiles from Diego Garcia (between 1,500 and 2,000) went to Mauritius and the Seychelles.

Cyclones in 1979 (Claudette) and 1994 (Hollanda) caused great devastation to Mauritius.

The University of Mauritius was founded in 1972.

In 2010 June Mauritius and France agreed to jointly manage Tromelin, a small Indian Ocean island owned by France and claimed by Mauritius.

In December 2012 the European Court of Human Rights rejected the claim by Chagos Islanders against Britain over their expulsion.

In 2019 the UN International Court of Justice said that Britain should end control over the Chagos Islands as they were not lawfully separated from Mauritius in 1965.

A Japanese-owned bulk carrier ran aground a coral reef in 2020 spilling up to a thousand tonnes of oil, said to be the worst environmental disaster in Mauritius.

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