General information: The island was discovered by the Portuguese in 1505; later it belonged alternately to the Dutch, French and British until it gained independence in 1968. As a stable democratic country with regular free elections and a healthy human rights record, Mauritius attracts large foreign investment; per capita income in Mauritius is one of the highest among African countries. Recent bad weather and falling sugar prices have slowed the economy, sparking protests in the Creole community against declining living standards.
Location: South Africa, an island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. See franciscogardening.com to know more about Mauritius Geography.
Geographical coordinates: 20° 17′ S. latitude, 57° 33′ E
Reference map: Area
: total length: 1,860 km2; land surface area: 1,850 km2; water surface area: 10 km2; note: including the islands of Agalega, Cargados Carajos (Saint Brandon’s Island) and Rodriges.
Comparative area: about 11 times the size of Washington DC.
Land borders: 0 km.
Coastline: 177 km.
Maritime claims: continental shelf: 200 nautical miles or to the outer limits of the continent; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: tropical; moderated by trade winds blowing from the southeast; warm dry winter (from May to November); hot, humid, rainy summer (November to May).
Terrain: a narrow coastal plain, turning into rare mountains surrounding the central plateau.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m; highest point: Mont Piton 828 m.
Natural resources: arable land, fish.
Land use: arable land: 49%; cultivated land: 3%; pastures: 3%; forests and plantations: 22%; others: 23% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 170 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: cyclones from November to April; reefs that surround the island from almost all sides and pose a danger to navigation.
Actual environmental problems: water pollution; degradation of coral reefs.
International environmental treaties: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Change, Hazardous Waste, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution; signed but not ratified: no.
Note to the section “Geography”:
Population: 1,189,825 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 25.53% (male 153,691; female 150,094); 15 to 64 years old: 68.24% (male 404,940; female 407,056); over 65: 6.23% (male 29,588; female 44,456) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 0.88% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 16.5 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 6.82 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: -0.92 people / 1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.02 male/female; up to 15 years: 1.02 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.99 male/female; over 65: 0.67 male/female; for the general population: 0.98 male/female. (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 17.19 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 71.25 years; men: 67.26 years; women: 75.31 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 2.01 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.08% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: no data.
Mortality due to AIDS: no data available.
Nationality: noun: inhabitant of the island of Mauritius; adjective: Mauritian.
Ethnic groups: Indo-Moorish 68%, Creole 27%, Sino-Moorish 3%, French-Moorish 2%.
Believers: Hindu 52%, Christian 28.3% (Catholic 26%, Protestant 2.3%), Muslim 16.6%, other 3.1%.
Language(s): English (official), Creole, French, Hindu, Urdu, Hakka, Bojpoori.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 82.9%; men: 87.1%; women: 78.8% (1995 est.).
Common long form: Republic of Mauritius;
Common short form: Mauritius
State structure: parliamentary democracy.
Capital: Port Louis.
Administrative divisions: 9 districts and 3 dependencies*: Agalega*, Black River, Grand Port, Cargados Carajos*, Moca, Pample Moussis, Plain William, Port Louis, Rivière du Rham Par, Rodrigues *, Savannah, Flakk.
Independence: from March 12, 1968 (from the UK).
National holiday: Independence Day, March 12 (since 1968).
Constitution: adopted March 12, 1968; amended March 12, 1992
Legal system: based on the French civil law system with elements of English common law in some areas.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal.
chief of state: President Cassam UTEEM (since 1 July 1992) and Vice President Angidi Verriah CHETTIAR (since 28 June 1997);
head of government: Prime Minister Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH (since September 17, 2000) Deputy Prime Minister Paul BERENGER (Pay1VER, YESHER,) (since September 17, 2000);
Government: a council of ministers appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister; elections: president and vice president elected by the National Assembly for five-year terms; elections last held 28 June 1997 (next to be held in 2002); the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister are appointed by the President and are responsible to the National Assembly; election results: Kassa UTIM re-elected President and Angidi Verria CETTIAR elected Vice-President; distribution of votes in the National Assembly – no data.
Legislature: unicameral National Assembly (66 members, 62 of which are elected by popular vote, 4 are appointed by the electoral commission from the ranks of the losing political parties to ensure the representation of various ethnic minorities; members are elected for a five-year term); elections: last held 11 December 2000 (next to be held in September 2005); election results: distribution of votes by parties – MSM/MMM 52.3%, MLP/PMSD 36.9%, OPR 10.8%; seat distribution by party – MSM/MMM 54, MLP/PMSD 6, OPR 2.
Judiciary: Supreme Court.
Political parties and leaders: Hezbollah (Cehl Mohamed FAKEE-MEEAN); Mauritius Labor Party (MLP) (Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM); Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM) (Paul Berenger), is in coalition with MSM; Mauritius Battle Revival (MMR) (Dr. Paramhan-sa NABABSING); Mauritius Social Democratic Party (PMSD) (Charles Xavier-Luc DUVAL); Militant Socialist Movement (MSM) (Anerud JAGNAUTH), ruling party; Movement of Rodrigues Island (Joseph [Nicholas] von MALLY [Nicholas Von MALLY]).
Political influence groups and their leaders: numerous trade unions.
Participation in international organizations: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, InOC, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, SADC, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
Diplomatic Mission to the USA: Head of Mission: Ambassador Usha JEETAH; office: Suite 441, 4301 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone:  (202) 244-1491, 244-1492; fax:  (202) 966-0983.
US Diplomatic Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Mark W. ERWIN; embassy: 4th Floor, Rogers House, John Kennedy Street, Port Louis; mailing address: international: R. O. Box 544, Port Louis; in the USA: American Embassy, Port Louis, Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-2450; phone:  208-2347, 208-2354, 208-9763 to 208-9767; fax:  208-9534.
Flag Description: Four equal horizontal stripes of red (top), blue, yellow and green.