The official name is the Republic of Mauritius. Located on the island of Mauritius and the islands of Rodrigues, Agalera, the archipelagos of Cargados Carajos and Chagos in the western Indian Ocean. The area is 2.04 thousand km2, the population is 1200.2 thousand people. (2002). The official languages are English and French. The capital is the city of Port Louis (139.8 thousand people, 2001). Public holiday – Independence Day March 12 (since 1968). The monetary unit is the Mauritian rupee. Member of the UN (since 1968), IMF (since 1993), AfDB, FAO, AU, SADC, UNCTAD, UNESCO, WTO, etc.
Geography of Mauritius
The geographical center of the archipelago is 20°17′ south latitude and 57°33′ east longitude, 800 km east of Madagascar. The shores are fringed with coral reefs, making approaches difficult. The surface is elevated, especially in the southwestern part of the island of Mauritius (Mount Piton, 826 m); in the central part of the island there is a plateau up to 600 m high, in the north and east there is a narrow strip of the coastal plain; on the island of Rodrigues, heights up to 396 m. Fertile soils on volcanic rocks. The climate is tropical maritime. The average temperatures in February are +26°С, in August +14–18.5°С. Precipitation 1500-5000 mm per year. The rivers are shallow, in the dry season they dry up completely; The main river of Mauritius is the Grand Rivière. Dense tropical forests with valuable tree species (ebony, etc.), which once covered the islands, were mostly cut down and survived only in the mountains; on the island of Mauritius, forests cover approx. 1/3 of the territory. The fauna belongs to the Madagascar subregion, is endemic (elephant turtles, etc.), and is distinguished by the diversity and abundance of birds.
Population of Mauritius
According to Countryaah, population growth rate is 0.86% per year (2002). Birth rate 16.34%, mortality 6.81%, infant mortality 16.65 people. per 1 thousand newborns (2002). Average life expectancy 71.53 years (2002). Sex and age structure of the population: 0-14 years old – 25.4% (ratio of men and women 1.02), 15-64 years old – 68.3% (1), 65 years and older – 6.3% (0.66) (2002). Rural population 45.3%, urban – 54.7% (2000). Among the population over 15 years old, 82.9% are literate (87.1% men, 78.8% women) (1995). Main ethnic groups (%): Indians (68), Creoles (27), Chinese (3), French-Mauritians (2). Languages – English and French, Creole, Hindi, Urdu, Bojpuri. The religious composition of the population: Hindus – 52%, Christians – 28.3%, Muslims – 16.6%, others – 3.1%.
History of Mauritius
Mauritius was captured by the Dutch in 1598, and by the French in 1715. In 1810-1968 the possession of Great Britain. In 1965 Great Britain took under its jurisdiction the Chagos Archipelago, including Diego Garcia Atoll, which are used as a US military base. Since 1968, Mauritius has become an independent state – a constitutional monarchy headed by the English king (queen). The achievement of independence was facilitated by the activities of the Mauritian Labor Party (MLP), headed by Sivusagur Ramgoolam and consolidating the Indian part of the population. The first independent government also included representatives of the Mauritius Social Democratic Party (MSDP), which represented the interests of the French and Creole population. Since 1970, the strongest opposition to the ruling coalition has been a new party, the Mauritius Combat Movement (MBM), which had significant public support. At the same time, voters’ confidence in the MLP was declining. March 12, 1992 Mauritius is proclaimed a republic. In the parliamentary elections in 2000, the coalition of the MBD and the BSD (Combat Socialist Movement) received an absolute majority in parliament, which allowed it to elect Karl Offmann as president in 2002 and form a government.
Science and culture of Mauritius
Higher education institutions: University of Mauritius (5590 students in 2001/02); Institute. M. Gandhi in Moka (3210 students); Regional center for training specialists in the sugar industry (800 students). St. 8 thousand Mauritians study in higher educational institutions in Great Britain, France, India, etc. Compulsory free education of children is carried out from the age of 5 in primary (6 years) and secondary (7 years) school. In 1995 ok. 98% of the children in the respective age group attended primary and 65% secondary schools. Adult literacy 82.9% (male 87.1%; female 78.8%) (1995). Mauritius has a strong influence of Indian and French culture. Most of the population lives in cities and is strongly Europeanized. Traditional art has been preserved mainly in rural areas: folklore (fairy tales, songs, dance “sege”).