Mauritius is located in southern Africa, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. Although visited by Arab, Malay, and Portuguese sailors between the 10th and 16th centuries, Mauritius was uninhabited until the Dutch took possession in 1598. Abandoned by the Dutch in 1710, it was taken over by the French in 1715 and seized by the British in 1810. It gained independence in 1968.
Mauritius has a reputation for stability and racial harmony among its mixed population of Asians, Europeans and Africans, and the country has maintained one of the developing world’s most successful democracies. Before, and for several years after, independence in 1968, Mauritius was principally a sugar-based economy. Since independence, the country has developed from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a middle-income, diversified economy with growing manufacturing, financial, and tourist sectors. Political stability and efforts to diversify have helped Mauritius become one of Africa’s most prosperous economies.