Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Mauritius

Mauritius, an island in the S. of the Indian Ocean, 556 miles E. of Madagascar, and 940 S.E. of the Seychelles. It is an irregular triangle in shape, and is 36 miles long by 23 miles wide, and contains 713 square miles. The isle is surrounded by coral reefs, which make approach difficult. It is of volcanic formation, and there are lakes which are old craters, the chief of these being Grand Bassin in the S. The N. and N.E. are comparatively level, but the rest of the island is picturesquely hilly and mountainous, the heights varying from 500 to 2,700 feet. The Pouce (2,650 feet) and Pieter Botte (2,676 feet) are remarkable peaks. The rivers are small, and in the dry season mere brooks, the longest (10 miles) being the Grande Riviere. The climate is pleasant during the cool season, but very hot at other times, and hurricanes are frequent. The soil is fertile; but, owing to its stoniness, cultivation has to be carried on with the hoe. Most necessaries of life are imported, and the exports are sugar, rum, vanilla and fibre. Port Louis, in the N.W, is the capital and the seat of government. Most of the officials live in the hills, especially at Curepipe (1,800 feet), where, as at Port Louis, there is a small garrison. There are some railways and fair roads, and good schools. Port Louis has a Roman Catholic bishop, and there is a Protestant bishop of Mauritius. England took Mauritius from France owing to the damage done to our trade by cruisers which sheltered there.