In the 10th century, Phoenicians, Malays, Swahili and Arab seamen visited the island. It was named Dina Robin by Arab mariners.
In 1510, Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas visited the island and named it CirnÃ©. The Portuguese used it as a port of call. In 1598, the Dutch claimed the uninhabited island and renamed it after their head of state, Maurice, Prince of Orange and Count of Nassau.
In 1715, the French East India Company claimed Mauritius for France and renamed the island ÃŽle de France. The French established the first road and sugar industry under the leadership of Gov. Mahe de Labourdonnais. Slaves taken from Africa were brought to work in the sugarcane fields.
In 1810, the British forces defeated the French and captured the island. The island was ceded to Great Britain by the Treaty of Paris in 1814. The British abolished slavery in 1834 and hundreds of thousands of workers from India began to arrive in 1835.
The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 led to the decline of Mauritius as a port of call for ships rounding the southern tip of Africa.
In 1912, Mahatma Gandhi visited the island. In 1926, the first Indo-Mauritians were elected to government council.
Mauritius became independent on March 12, 1968. Cyclone Claudette devastated the island in 1979.
Sir Anerood Jugnauth became prime minister in 1982. The country formally broke ties with the British Crown in March 1992, becoming a republic within the Commonwealth.
Mauritius secured a seat on the United Nations Security Council for the first time in 2000. In September 2000, Anerood Jugnauth became prime minister.
In February 2002, Mauritius went through four presidents in succession. Cassam Uteem and the Vice President resigned within days of each other, after both refused to sign an anti-terrorism bill that curtailed the rights of suspects. The Head of Legislature became the third interim president and signed the bill. At the end of February, a fourth president, Karl Offman, was elected by parliament.
In October 2003, Paul Berenger became the country's first non-Hindu prime minister and Anerood Jugnauth became president.
In July 2005, the Alliance Sociale won parliamentary elections and its leader, Navin Ramgoolam, became prime minister.
In May 2010, the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Ramgoolam won the general election. In December, Mauritius took legal action against Britain's creation of a Marine Protection Area around the Chagos Islands.
In August 2011, the Militant Socialist Movement (MSM) quit the ruling coalition in a dispute over corruption allegations. Pravind Jugnauth, the leader of the MSM, was arrested in September.
On March 30, 2012, President Anerood Jugnauth resigned. Vice President Monique Ohsan Bellepeau was named acting president.
Rajkeswur Purryag as president was sworn in on July 21, 2012, after being elected by the Mauritius National Assembly.
In late March 2013, at least 11 people died after rains flooded Port Louis. Prime Minister Navin Rangoolam blamed the disaster on climate change.
© 2013 World Ministries International