The islands that make up Mauritius lie in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar. They have enjoyed considerable economic success following recent industrial diversification and expansion
Geography: The volcanic main island of Mauritius is ringed by coral reefs, and rises from the coast to a fertile central plateau. The outer islands – Rodriguez, the Agalega Islands, and the Cargados Carajos Shoals – lie some 300 miles (500 km) to the north.
Climate: Warm and humid. Tropical storms are frequent December–March, the hottest and wettest months.
People & Society: Most people are descendants of laborers brought over from India in the 19th century. A small minority of French descent form the wealthiest group. Creoles (descendants of African slaves) complain of discrimination. Literacy is high. Health care is free. Criminal offenses are usually traffic-related; little crime on outer islands.
The Economy: Clothing manufacture, tourism, and sugar. Loss of preferential trade terms for sugar and textiles. Offshore financial center. New outsourcing and ICT industries. Most food is imported.
Insight: The islands form part of the Mascarene Archipelago – once a land bridge between Asia and Africa
Official Name: Republic of Mauritius
Date of Formation: 1968
Capital: Port Louis
Population: 1.29 million
Total Area: 718 sq. miles (1860 sq. km)
Density: 1794 people per sq. mile
Languages: French Creole, Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Chinese, English*, French
Religions: Hindu 52%, Catholic 26%, Muslim 17%, other 3%, Protestant 2%
Ethnic Mix: Indo-Mauritian 68%, Creole 27%, other 5%
Government: Parliamentary system
Currency: Mauritian rupee = 100 cents