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Mauritius - At a glance
Mauritius at a glance
Country Mauritius is an independent state, consisting of the islands of Mauritius, Rodrigues and dependencies; it is known as Ile Maurice in French
Location In the Indian Ocean, south of the Equator and just north of the Tropic of Capricorn
Size Mauritius 1,864km2; total area with dependencies 2,045km2
History Discovered by Arabs, then the Portuguese, Mauritius was first settled by the Dutch in 1598. It was claimed by the French in 1715 as Ile de France and captured by the British in 1810. It was a British colony until 1968 when it became an independent member of the Commonwealth. It became a republic in 1992.
Climate Hot summers (November to April) with average coastal temperatures of 30˚C; warm winters (May to October), averaging 24˚C.
Interior temperatures are 3–5˚C lower. Rainy season January to May; possibility of cyclones from January to March.
Nature Mountainous with plateaux; flowers, forests and crops; rare wildlife and nothing dangerous; fine beaches within coral reefs
Visitors Tourists come all the year around; November to January and August most popular months; May and October most pleasant
Capital Port Louis
Government Parliamentary democracy based on the Westminster model of government. The president is the head of state but the prime minister and cabinet have constitutional power.
Population 1,324,851 (July 2015) of Indian, African, European and Chinese origin.
Economy Based on industrial and agricultural exports, tourism and financial services
Language Official language English, but Creole most widely used. Most people speak (and read) French, with Hindi, Tamil and Chinese as the main alternatives.
Religion Hindusim, Islam, Christianity, and also Confucianism and Buddhism
Currency Mauritian rupee (Rs), which is divided into 100 cents (cs). The international exchange rate fluctuates daily, linked to a basketful of currencies.
International telephone code +230
Electricity 220 volts
Weights and measures The metric system was officially introduced in 1985.