Mauritius is a stable and prosperous Indian Ocean archipelago.
Once dependent on sugar exports, the island has built up a strong outsourcing and financial services sector, as well as an important tourism industry, and now boasts one of Africa’s highest per capita incomes.
Mauritius claims sovereignty over the Chagos Islands, in a dispute with Britain that saw hundreds of islanders deported to make way for a US military base on the island of Diego Garcia in the 1960s.
President: Prithvirajsing Roopun
Arts and Culture Minister Prithvirajsing “Pradeep” Roopun was elected to the largely ceremonial post of president in December 2019.
Prime minister: Pravind Kumar Jugnauth
Pravind Kumar Jugnauth succeeded his father, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, as prime minister in January 2017.
Until he stepped down, Sir Anerood had been the longest-serving prime minister since Mauritius gained independence from Britain in 1968.
Mr Jugnauth is leader of the Militant Socialist Movement party.
State-owned Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) radio and TV generally reflect government thinking. MBC is funded by advertising and a TV licence fee.
Television is the most popular medium.
Some key dates in the history of Mauritius:
10th century – Island is known to the Arabs, who choose not to settle.
1507-1513 – Portuguese sailors come across the island.
1638 -1710 – The Dutch claim the island, naming it after Prince Maurice van Nassau.
1710-1810 – The French take possession, establishing a sugar industry based on slave labour.
1810-1968 – The British conquer the island. Abolition of slavery sees thousands of indentured labourers recruited, mainly from India.
1966 – Britain expels hundreds of residents of the Chagos archipelago to make way for a US military base on Diego Garcia. Many are sent to Mauritius.
1968 – Independence declared.
1992 – Mauritius becomes a republic.
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