About Mauritius – History and Demographics

More about Mauritius History

Mauritius was well known to Arab and Malay sailors in the 10th century, the island was uninhabited until the 16th century. Mauritius was first explored by the Portuguese before the Dutch settled here. It was named in the honor of Prince Mauritius van NASSAU in the 17th century.

The French assumed control in 1715 to use it as a naval base to oversee the Indian Ocean trade and establish a sugar cane plantation.

During the  Napoleonic Wars in 1810, the island was captured and remained a strategically important British naval base. It later became an air station, playing an important role during World War II that was primarily used for anti-submarine and convoy operations, as well as the collection of signals intelligence.

Mauritius became independent in 1968, a stable democracy with regular free elections and a positive human rights record. Because of its natural beauty and growing economy, Mauritius attracted numerous foreign investment and has one of Africa’s highest per capita incomes.

Mauritius claimed the French island of Tromelin and the British Chagos (Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory).

People in Mauritius - The Population


Some interesting facts about the Population:

There were 1,272,744 people living in Mauritius as at 17 December 2020.
It is about  0.02% of the total world population.
Mauritius is ranked as Number 157 in the list of countries by population size.
The density of the population is 626 per Km2 (1,623 people per m2).
Land Area 2,030 Km2 (784 sq. miles) in total.
40.8 % of the population stays in Towns (519,330 people in 2020)

Half the people are younger than the age of 37.5 years and the other half are older. The Median age


Where did the Mauritius Population come from.

There was no indigenous population on the island, the ethnic composition was due to more than two centuries of European colonialism and labour migration internationally. Sugar production required slave labour and labourers came from Madagascar, Mozambique, and East Africa in the start of 18th century until it was abolished in 1835, indentured Indians replaced the slaves. The majority of the indentured labour, between late 1830s to the early 1860, permanently settled and created a big population increase more than 7% per year, changing the social and cultural composition. Indians were approx. 12% of Mauritius’ population in 1837, accounted for approx. 2/3 of the total at the end of the 19th century. Mostly Hindus, but the most of the free Indian traders were Muslims.

Mauritius needed more labour when its success in the clothing and textile exports improved that created a labour shortage during mid-1980s. Clothing manufacturers imported female workers, on contract from China, India, and some from Bangladesh and Madagascar. These labourers worked for more hours at reduced wages with very poor conditions and were favoured to me more productive and cheaper than the local workers. When the sugar and textile industries dropped during the mid-2000’s with shortage of highly qualified domestic workers for Mauritius the requirement for the services sector assisted in the emigration of low-skilled workers and the requirement for skilled foreign labour. Since 2007, Mauritius has used the “circular migration program” to allow locals to obtain new skills and money to save abroad and when returning home they will be able to start their own businesses and aid in the investment of the Mauritius development.