Less than 1% of the population speaks the official, state (English) language. The inhabitants of the island, for whose possession argued the major European maritime powers, are now mostly Indians and Creoles (of French-Afro-Malagasy origin).
The main and unique natural attraction of Mauritius is the dodo bird, the scientist C. Linnaeus entered into his writings when no one saw it. The phenomenon of the earth “Seven colors” (or “Colored sands”) playing with all the colors of the rainbow has not yet been explained by science. And pineapples in Mauritius are considered a weed.
“Star and Key of the Indian Ocean” are not just words, they are written on the coat of arms of a tiny state. Therefore, it was given that the key, therefore, passed from hand to hand of the island (there are three of them - all of them belong to the state of Mauritius). The island had several names. Once it was discovered by the Arabs (in 975), but since the land was uninhabited and there was no one to trade, they left, leaving their name: Dinarobin (Silver Island). Then, already in the XVI century, the Portuguese appeared and gave their name: Cisne (Swan). Mauritius became a transit point on the way to Goa.
A few years later the Dutch came - it was so convenient for them to take a break on the road to the island of Java, that they gave their name (Mauricius) and decided to settle tight.
In 1715, the French arrived and renamed the island деle-de-France (as in their homeland). They got down to business seriously, furrowed and studied the famous Admirals Bougainville (a grape variety in his honor) and La Perouse (and we have a strait in his name).
And then, alternately, the island was a bargaining chip in the constant military clashes of the French and the British and, at the same time, the refuge of the corsairs. Storming, capturing beauties, shouting “on boarding!” - it is possible that all subsequent similar plots grew up in these coastal waters. It is possible that it was the pirates who expelled the Dutch, but under the French they became “in law” pirates. Most famous pirate Robert Courtuff nicknamed "The Storm of the Seas" became an officer in the French fleet, he was even granted the title of baron. The robber became one of the first gentlemen of the Order of the Legion of Honor. He died in France, "under a notary and a doctor," being the richest shipowner in France. And on the island somewhere else lies his treasure.
And then the British came to the island. The slave trade was already banned, but the people of India were drawn to Mauritius. And now they constitute the ethnic and religious majority of the population. Mahatma Gandhi also visited the island.
Mauritius was visited by writers and scholars (Charles Darwin). Everyone admired the island, and Joseph Conrad (1957−1924) called it “a pearl of sweetness”. This classic of English literature was born, incidentally, in Berdichev, and his name was Jozef Theodor Konrad Kozhenevsky. His father, a Polish rebel, was exiled to Vologda, the family went after him. Then - Chernihiv, Lviv, Krakow, Marseille, England. He consisted in the naval service, destroyed all the seas, wrote marvelous books and even abandoned British knighthood, because he already had his own family coat of arms. You can talk endlessly about a wonderful writer, but the very fact of how he perceived the island of Mauritius is interesting here.
During World War II, Mauritius was an English naval base and played a large role, especially after the Japanese captured Singapore. And then followed the struggle for independence.
Over the past century, Mauritius has gained a lot, but also lost a lot. And the losses were irreparable. The turtles, which were the “live canned goods” of all the navigators, have disappeared. Disappeared and the world famous bird dodo. Even her drawings almost did not survive.
“Dodo” was the name the Dutch called it, and this is the second name of the dodo. A huge flightless bird, forever extinct from the globe. After all, they once did not need to fear anything at all - the islands were uninhabited, so the birds forgot how to not only fly, but even to run and swim fast.
The name “Dodo” itself is produced from “silly” or slightly rougher (by the way, we, by the way, also have such a gullible bird in the Arctic). It was only necessary to approach her, knock and eat - good, the meat was delicious. Gerald Durrell used the image of Dodo as an emblem for his fund to protect endangered wild animals. And on the coat of arms of Mauritius dodo flaunts. And in English there was a saying: as dead as a dodo (dead as a dodo). Although the British before "Alice in Wonderland" in general considered the bird a myth.
But Dodo has really not been seen for several centuries, although there are people who do not lose hope. At least in other, still quite lost, places ... And genetics are going to "reconstruct" the bird. Oxford scientists are determined in terms of the "rebirth" of the dodo. The bones are preserved, the DNA is isolated. Mankind would very much like to return what was destroyed, as they say, in just 80 years. So let us wait a little while waiting for Dodo ...
And Mauritius continues to live, work (sugar plantations and tourism), relax, celebrate. Cultural life on the island is quite rich. There are also celebrities. Suffice it to say that the descendant from the island is Jean-Marie Gustave Leclezio - winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 2008, recognized as "the greatest living writer writing in French."
In the Mauritian holidays, everything mixed up: there is a Catholic, and May 1, and the birthday of Ganesha, and the Hindu New Year, Ugali, and the Chinese New Year. And on the island of Reunion, referring to Mauritius, is also the Tamil New Year, and the feast in honor of the Black Most Holy Virgin, and the feast of the goddess Kali, and the Feast of the Waves, and even the Shushu Vegetable Festival. There will be music, tam-toms, incendiary Creole sega ...