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Mauritius Life


“Due to the geographic location and rich history of colonisation, the island of Mauritius has people of great ethnic, religious and cultural diversity. It has been said that Mauritius is a successful example of cultural integration and one of the most peaceful countries in Africa.

Below I impart my knowledge of the people of Mauritius and explore the history of what the island was built upon, not necessarily focusing on religion or ethnicity but origin (see Religion in Mauritius for this). This is information I have picked up alone the way and found through my own research, however I’m not guaranteeing you to find the same stories.”







Since the discovery of the island in the early 16th century, the island has has many rulers from, Portuguese explorers, Dutch settlers and French and British colonisers, then finally being declared an Independent state in 1968. During this time the Indian Ocean Slave Trade was operating and people from Africa where bought to the island as salves to work on the sugar cane plantations. Creole Mauritians are those who trace their ancestry back to this time.

The Creole language is a result of African slaves trying to communicate with each other and possibly those who enslaved them, French and English colonisers. The language has a lot of similarities to French which also shows a connection to East African countries

Today the Creole population is mainly a mixture of French and African decent and makes up 27% of the population. The language Mauritian Creole is also now spoken by all ethnic groups and 4/5 of the island.

Creoles are regarded as having one of the strongest influences on the islands culture and are responsible for the famous genre of music and dance 'Sega'. This can be seen in the background!



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Image by Anthony Choren


People who are referred to as 'Franco-Mauritian' are usually caucasian and primarily French speaking. The confusing thing is they often alternate between French and Creole. More often than not they have both a Mauritian and French passport with some family member which have returned to France.

The 'Franco's' are a result of French colonisation. In 1722 the French claimed Mauritius and referred to it as 'Isle of France' they took it to keep a foot hole in the Mascarene Islands as they already had possession of Reunion island. This was important during wartime against the British. However the British did eventually come and take over the island in 1810. The terms of the take over stated the settled French people could stay and live in a specific region under British rule until the island obtained independence in 1968.

The 'Francos' have had land privileges that other ethnic groups have not and are known for owning and running large businesses such as the sugar cane plantations. They are referred to as the 'high class' although they only have a small group today forming only 2% of the population.



A whopping 67% of the Mauritian population today come from Indian descent, thats 2/3 of the island. The history behind this influx of people from Indian descent dates back to the abolishment on slavery in 1835. After all the slaves were released they fled the sugar cane plantations to get as far away as they could and set up their own villages.

This left the sugar cane plantations with no workers so they brought indentured labourers to take their place. From 1845 the Indian population grew from the ground up.

Being the majority of the population these Indian people bought with them their ethnic, religious and cultural diversity. Today we see lots of Hindu temples dotted all over the island.


There are many Indian restaurants and local people sell Indian snack's on the streets such as Roti's and Dholl Puri (Have a look at the Food in Mauritius page for more info and recipies!).


In the urban area's shops sell sari's and traditional Indian dresses. Some of the people are even speaking Indian languages Bhojpuri, Tamil, Hindi and Urdu.



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Like most countries in the world there is a small Chinese population, approximately 3%. It is thought that the Chinese made their way to Mauritius around the same time as the Indians.

They will have entered the country as indentured labourers to work on the sugar cane plantations. Due to their small numbers there isn't huge amount of Chinese culture, however the capital Port Louis has it's very own China Town! 

Having said this one big influence the Chinese have had is in Cuisine. Many classic Mauritian dishes consist of traditional Chinese dishes with an island twist, such as fried rice, noodles and soups (see food in Mauritius page).

Being a very culturally and religiously free country many of the population celebrate Chinese New Year and other Chinese holidays and celebrations (For more info see the Festivals page)

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