Settlement attempts

Many historians attribute the discovery of Mauritius to Diogo Dias around 1500 AD. The island had already been known by the Arab and Indian pilots for some time.

When the Portuguese discovered Mauritius, they had no interest in taking possession or settle on the island. They had already secure trade routes towards India along the East coast of Africa with stop-overs in the Comoros Islands where they could replenish. They also had a long experience of trading with Arab merchants.  So, they preferred to settle along the Mozambique coast.

Then in 1507 a Portuguese sailor named Domingo Fernandez 're-discovered' the island. Between 1507 and 1511 the Portuguese paid brief visits to the island on their way to the Indies. To the Portuguese, at that time, the island also served as a place where they could repair their damaged ships and let their exhausted crews recover. However, they never established a settlement on the island. By the time they left Mauritius for good the Portuguese had already introduced animals like pigs and goats, to name a few, on the island to provide meat for the ships replenishment. Some of these animals, especially the pigs have managed to survive and can be still be found in the forests as wild hogs.

Neither the Portuguese nor the Arabs settled here. The reason why they did not inhabit the island, where there were no indigenous population, is probably because they did not find any commercial riches such as precious stones and metals, spices and silk for trading. There were settlement attempts from the following countries: Netherlands and France.

Dutch settlements

TEYLANDTMAURITIUSAlmost a hundred years after the Portuguese, in 1598,  Wybrant van Warwijck'sand his fleet enters almost accidentally in Vieux Grand-Port. He was the first Dutchman visiting the island then known under the name of Cirne. He took possession of the island and named it Mauritius after their Prince Maurits Van Nassau, son of Guillaume von Nassau, Prince of Orange and Stadholder of Holland.

In 1622, Danish adventurers had reached the island and wanted to exploit the ebony trees. By the time they organized their expedition, the Dutch had already a permanent settlement.

There were two settlement attempts by the Dutch:

The first Dutch settlement from 1639 to 1658

The second Dutch settlement from 1664 to 1710.


French attempts

The first French settlement attempt

In fact, there was only one attempt made by the French to take possession of the island in 1715 after the departure of the Dutch. The second one was a fake one organised by Jean Baptiste Garnier du Fougeray probably to gain some political credit for himself.

Nice and useful sites

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