Map of Mauritius Mauritius is an island country lying 950 kilometres (590 miles) east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. It is made up of the main island, Mauritius, together with a number of smaller ones, including Rodrigues, Agalega and the Saint Brandon islands. These are known as the “Outer Islands”. Mauritius is a green, mountainous island. A narrow coastal plain, edged with white beaches, encircles a mountainous interior. The island is surrounded by coral reefs and shallow, clear waters. Mauritius has a tropical, wet climate. Between November and April, cyclones often sweep across the islands, bringing heavy rains and causing severe flooding.
Mauritius has been settled by many different peoples over its history. Most of its modern population is made up of people with mixed ancestry. About two-thirds of Mauritians are Indian-Mauritian, descendants of Indians who came to work on sugar and spice plantations in the early 19th century. Nearly all Mauritians speak Mauritian Creole, a mixture of French, African and Asian languages. Many also speak French and English.
Mauritius was once the home of the dodo, a flightless bird which became extinct shortly after Dutch settlers arrived on the island in the 17th century.
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