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How Mauritius Was Formed

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How Mauritius Was Formed

Posted by: Órama Corporate Services
Category: Blog

Mauritius, an island nation located in the Indian Ocean to the east of the African continent, has a fascinating geological history that explains how it was formed. The formation of Mauritius can be traced back to volcanic activity and geological processes. Here’s an overview of how Mauritius was formed: 

Volcanic Origins: 

Mauritius was formed through a series of volcanic eruptions that occurred millions of years ago. These eruptions took place on the ocean floor, creating underwater volcanoes. 

Submarine Volcanoes: 

Over time, the volcanic activity continued, and layers of solidified lava built up, gradually forming underwater volcanic islands. These underwater volcanoes were the early precursors to the island of Mauritius. 

Eruptions and Island Formation: 

The volcanic eruptions led to the gradual emergence of these underwater volcanoes above sea level, forming islands. Mauritius is part of a larger group of islands, collectively known as the Mascarene Islands, which also includes Réunion and Rodrigues. 

Coral Reefs: 

As the volcanic islands continued to rise, coral reefs began to develop around their coastlines. Coral reefs contributed to the formation and stabilization of coastlines and lagoons around the islands. 

Geological Evolution: 

The geological history of Mauritius involves a complex series of eruptions, subsidence, and erosional processes over millions of years. The island’s landscape was shaped by the interaction of volcanic activity and the forces of nature. 

Arrival of Flora and Fauna: 

As Mauritius emerged and its climate became more stable, flora and fauna were able to establish themselves on the island. Some unique species of plants and animals evolved in isolation on Mauritius, which led to the development of its distinctive biodiversity. 

Human Settlement: 

Mauritius was initially uninhabited before being discovered and settled by humans. The first known human settlers on the island were Arab sailors in the 9th century. Subsequently, the island was visited by the Portuguese, Dutch, and French before falling under British colonial rule. 


The discovery of Mauritius is attributed to various navigators and explorers over the centuries. The island was not discovered by a single individual but rather through a series of visits by different explorers and sailors from various parts of the world. Here is a brief overview of how Mauritius was discovered: 

Early Arab and Portuguese Contacts (9th-16th Century): 

The earliest known records of human contact with the island of Mauritius date back to the 9th century when Arab traders and sailors ventured into the Indian Ocean. However, there is limited historical documentation of their visits. 

In the 16th century, Portuguese explorers are believed to have visited the island but did not establish a permanent presence. 

Dutch Discovery and Naming (17th Century): 

The Dutch are credited with the official discovery and naming of Mauritius. In 1598, Dutch Admiral Wybrand van Warwijck is said to have been the first European to land on the island. 

In 1599, the Dutch explorer Cornelius Gooyer arrived and named the island “Mauritius” after Prince Maurice of Nassau, the head of the Dutch Republic at the time. 

The Dutch did not establish a permanent settlement on the island but used it as a resupply point for their ships traveling to and from the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia). 

Abandonment and French Colonization (18th Century): 

The Dutch abandoned Mauritius in 1710, and the island remained uninhabited by Europeans for a few decades. 

In 1715, the French took control of the island and named it Île de France. They established settlements and began developing the island’s resources. 

British Takeover (19th Century): 

During the Napoleonic Wars, the British seized Île de France (Mauritius) from the French in 1810. They ruled the island for nearly a century. 

Independence (20th Century): 

Mauritius gained its independence from British colonial rule on March 12, 1968, and became a sovereign nation. 

Today, Mauritius is a volcanic island with a diverse and dynamic landscape. Its stunning beaches, lush forests, and vibrant coral reefs continue to attract tourists from around the world. The island’s unique geological history has also contributed to its rich natural beauty and biodiversity, making it a place of great ecological significance. 

It’s important to note that while Mauritius is often associated with its colonial history and European discoveries, the island had been known to Arab sailors long before it was officially discovered by Europeans. Additionally, it was inhabited by various indigenous and animal species before human colonization, with evidence of the Dodo, a flightless bird now extinct, being one of its most famous residents. Today, Mauritius is celebrated for its rich cultural heritage, diverse population, and stunning natural beauty. 

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