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Mauritius: National Day

Mauritians celebrate their National Day on 12 March—the anniversary of their independence from the United Kingdom in 1968 and the establishment of a parliamentary republic in 1992.

First settled permanently by the Dutch in 1638 (although it had been known to Indian Ocean sailors for seven centuries before that), the island of Mauritius was taken over by the French in 1715 and renamed Île de France. The British took it from the French during the Napoleonic Wars, but under the terms of the surrender the settlers were allowed to keep not just their land and property, but their legal system and language too. (For fans of historical fiction, Patrick O’Brian’s novel The Mauritius Command, from his Master and Commander series featuring Captain “Lucky” Jack Aubrey and Dr Stephen Maturin, is based closely on the actual events that led to the conquest of Mauritius.)

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