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Introduction: Although known to Arab and Malay sailors as early as the 10th century, Mauritius was first explored by the Portuguese in the 16th century and subsequently settled by the Dutch - who named it in honor of Prince Maurits van NASSAU - in the 17th century. The French assumed control in 1715, developing the island into an important naval base overseeing Indian Ocean trade, and establishing a plantation economy of sugar cane. The British captured the island in 1810, during the Napoleonic Wars. Mauritius remained a strategically important British naval base, and later an air station, playing an important role during World War II for anti-submarine...

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Government and Political Conditions: Mauritian politics are vibrant and characterized by coalition and alliance building. All parties are centrist and reflect a national consensus that supports democratic politics and a relatively open economy with a strong private sector. Mauritius became a republic on March 12, 1992. The most immediate result was that a Mauritian-born president became head of state, replacing Queen Elizabeth II. ...

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International Relations: Relations with the International Community

Mauritius has traditionally had strong commercial links with South Africa, France and India. China has also become a key commercial partner in recent years. Mauritius was instrumental in setting up the Indian Ocean Rim-Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC). As a member of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group it took a leading role in the ACP/EU negotiations leading to the Cotonou Agreementand continues to be active in this forum. Mauritius is also a member of the Indian Ocean Commission which promotes co-operation between the Indian Ocean islands of the African ...

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Although there is no evidence of human habitation on Mauritius before the early seventeenth century, Phoenicians probably visited the island about 2,000 years ago, and Malays and Arabs stopped on the island in subsequent centuries. The Portuguese charted the waters surrounding the island, which they called Ilha do Cirne (Island of the Swan), in the early sixteenth century. In 1638 the Dutch began ...

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