Mauritius[mô ris̸h′ē əs, -ris̸h′əs]
- island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar: 720 sq mi (1,865 sq km)
- country consisting of this island & several nearby islands: discovered by the Portuguese in the 16th cent., it was in turn occupied by the Dutch, the French, & the British; became independent & a member of the Commonwealth in 1968: 788 sq mi (2,040 sq km); pop. 1,059,000; cap. Port Louis
An island country in the southwest Indian Ocean comprising the island of Mauritius and several small dependencies in the Mascarene Islands. Originally uninhabited, the islands were probably known to Arab and Malay traders in the Middle Ages. Mauritius was controlled by the Dutch (1598–1710), the French (1715–1810), and the British (after 1814) before independence was achieved in 1968. It became a republic in 1992. Port Louis is the capital and the largest city.