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Mauritius Information - Page 2
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to visit Mauritius and the Dutch were the first to claim the island.

French colonization started at the beginning of the eighteenth century and a century later Mauritius was ceded to Britain (Treaty of Paris).

In 1834 slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire and the indentured system of labour was introduced. Many economic migrants from India, and some from China, arrived in Mauritius to work in the plantations; others migrated to Mauritius to set up businesses.

Internal self-government was achieved in 1957 and Mauritius gained independence in 1968.

Before independence Britain separated the Chagos islands (British Indian Ocean Territory) from Mauritius. The largest island in the Chagos Archipelago, Diego Garcia, was leased to the USA for fifty years.

In 1992 Mauritius became a republic but retained its links with Britain through membership of the Commonwealth.

Since independence Mauritius has moved on from a mainly agrarian economy with growth in industry, the financial sector and tourism.

Agricultural products are sugarcane, bananas, mangoes, papayas, coconuts, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, pulses and tea. Cattle and goats are reared and there is a small fishing industry.

Industry includes mining, metal products, machinery, construction, transport equipment, chemicals, textiles, clothing, sugar milling and food processing.

The arts in Mauritius are as varied as the different groups within the country. For instance in music and dance there is the "sega" of African origin as well as Indian and Chinese music and dance traditions.

The Ministry of Arts and Culture aims "to foster a balanced and harmonious Mauritian Society through consolidation of existing pluralism, promotion of creativity and the celebration of cultural values".

The Mauritius Sports Council is responsible for encouraging participation in sports and physical recreation. Sports played include athletics, basketball, football, karate, tennis and volleyball.

Water sports available in Mauritius are scuba diving, yachting and deep-sea fishing.

Celebrations are observed for the Hindu, Christian and Muslim religions. Other holidays include New Year's Day - 1 January, Independence Day - 12 March (1968) and Labour Day - 1 May.

News is available from Newslink.

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