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Mauritius, officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about 870 kilometres (540 mi) east of Madagascar. In addition to the island of Mauritius, the Republic includes the islands of CargadosCarajos, Rodrigues and the Agalega Islands. Mauritius Island is part of the Mascarene Islands, with the French island of Réunion 170 km (110 mi) to the southwest and the island of Rodrigues 570 km (350 mi) to the east. The area of Mauritius is 2040 km2; its capital city is Port Louis.
The United Kingdom took control of the islands in 1810, from France during the Napoleonic Wars, and Mauritius became independent from the UK in 1968. It is a parliamentary republic and is a member of the Southern African Development Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the African Union, La Francophonie and the Commonwealth of Nations. Mauritius has an upper middle income economy.
The main languages spoken in Mauritius are Mauritian Creole, French and English. English is the only official language but the lingua franca is Mauritian Creole and the newspapers and television programmes are usually in French. Asian languages also form part of the linguistic mosaic. The country's populace is composed of several ethnicities, including Indian, African, Chinese and French. The first European explorers found no indigenous people living on the island.
The island of Mauritius was the only home of the dodo (Raphuscucullatus). This bird was easy prey to settlers because of its weight and inability to fly, and became extinct fewer than eighty years after the initial European colonization.
Mauritius is relatively young geologically, having been created by volcanic activity some 8 million years ago. Together with Réunion and Rodrigues, Mauritius is part of the Mascarene Islands. These islands have emerged from the abysses as a result of gigantic underwater volcanic eruptions that happened thousands of kilometres to the east of the continental block made up by Africa and Madagascar. They are no longer volcanically active, and the hotspot now rests under Réunion. There has been no active volcano on the island for more than 100,000 years. Mauritius is encircled by a broken ring of mountain ranges, varying in height from 300 meters to 800 meters above sea level. The land rises from coastal plains to a central plateau where it reaches a height of 670 meters, the highest peak is in the southwest, Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire at 828 metres (2,717 ft). Streams and rivers speckle the island; a lot of them are formed in the cracks created by lava flows.
Mauritian Domain Country Information Mauritian Domain Registrar Mauritian World Wide Domain Registration Mauritian Country Code Top Level Domain .co.mu Domain Information Mauritian Country Information Mauritius Country Information