Isle de France (Mauritius)
   HOME

TheInfoList




Isle de France (''Île de France'' in modern French) was the name of the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...

Indian Ocean
island which is known as
Mauritius Mauritius ( ; french: Maurice, link=no ; mfe, label=Mauritian Creole Mauritian Creole or Morisien or formerly Morisyen ( mfe, kreol morisien, links=no ) is a French-based creole language spoken in Mauritius Mauritius ( ; french: ...

Mauritius
and its
dependent territories A dependent territory, dependent area, or dependency (sometimes referred as an external territory) is a territory A territory is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, ...
between 1715 and 1810, when the area was under the
French East India Company The French East India Company (french: Compagnie française pour le commerce des Indes orientales) was a colonial commercial enterprise, founded on 1 September 1664 to compete with the English English usually refers to: * English language ...
and a part of the
French Empire#REDIRECT French Empire {{Redirect shell , {{R from ambiguous page {{R from other capitalisation ...
. Under the French, the island witnessed major changes. The increasing importance of agriculture led to the importation of slaves and the undertaking of vast infrastructural works that transformed
Port Louis Port Louis (french: Port-Louis) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule ...

Port Louis
into a major capital, port, warehousing, and commercial centre. During the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major World war, global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic W ...
, Isle de France became a base from which the French navy, including squadrons under
Rear Admiral Rear admiral is a senior naval A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for wa ...
Linois or Commodore
Jacques Hamelin Ancient and noble French family names, Jacq, Jacques, or James are believed to originate from the Middle Ages in the historic northwest Brittany region in France, and have since spread around the world over the centuries. To date, there are over o ...
, and corsairs such as
Robert Surcouf Robert Surcouf (12 December 1773 – 8 July 1827) was a French French corsairs, privateer and slave trader who operated in the Indian Ocean between 1789 and 1801, and again from 1807 to 1808, capturing over 40 Prize (law), prizes. He late ...

Robert Surcouf
, organised raids on
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ir ...

British
merchant ships. The raids (see
Battle of Pulo Aura The Battle of Pulo Aura was a minor naval engagement of the Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major World war, global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, ...
and
Mauritius campaign of 1809–1811 The Mauritius campaign of 1809–1811 was a series of amphibious operations and naval actions fought to determine possession of the French Indian Ocean territories of Isle de France (Mauritius), Isle de France and Île Bonaparte during the Napole ...
) continued until 1810 when the British sent a strong expedition to capture the island. The first British attempt, in August 1810, to resulted in a French victory, one celebrated on the
Arc de Triomphe The Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile (, , ; ) is one of the most famous monuments in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated p ...

Arc de Triomphe
in Paris. A subsequent and much larger attack launched in December of the same year from
Rodrigues Rodrigues (french: Île Rodrigues, link=yes ; Creole: ) is a autonomous In developmental psychology Developmental psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organ ...

Rodrigues
, which had been captured a year earlier, was successful. The British landed in large numbers in the north of the island and rapidly overpowered the French, who capitulated (see
Invasion of Isle de France The Invasion of Isle de France was a complicated but successful amphibious operation Amphibious warfare is a type of offensive military operation that today uses naval ship Image:HMAS Darwin (FFG 04).jpg, , an Australian frigate ...
). In the
Treaty of Paris (1814) The Treaty of Paris, signed on 30 May 1814, ended the war between France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on mo ...
, the French ceded Isle de France together with its territories including
Agaléga Agaléga (french: îles Agaléga) are two Outer Islands of Mauritius, outer islands of Mauritius located in the Indian Ocean, about north of Mauritius island. The population of the islands as at July 2011 was estimated at 300. The islands have a ...
, the
Cargados Carajos Shoals Saint Brandon, also known as the Cargados Carajos Shoals, is an Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of ...
, the
Chagos Archipelago The Chagos Archipelago () or Chagos Islands (formerly the Bassas de Chagas, and later the Oil Islands) is a group of seven atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, is a ring-shaped coral reef, including a coral rim that enci ...
,
Rodrigues Rodrigues (french: Île Rodrigues, link=yes ; Creole: ) is a autonomous In developmental psychology Developmental psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organ ...

Rodrigues
, Seychelles, and Tromelin Island to the United Kingdom.Treaty of Paris (1814) - Art. VIII
« ''His Britannic majesty stipulating for himself and his allies, engages to restore to his most Christian majesty, within the term which shall be hereafter fixed, the colonies, fisheries, factories, and establishments of every kind, which were possessed by France on the 1st of January 1792, in the seas and on the continents of America, Africa, and Asia, with the exception however of the islands of Tobago and St. Lucie, and of the Isle of France and its dependencies, especially Rodrigues and Les Sechelles, which several colonies and possessions his most Christian majesty cedes in full right and sovereignty to his Britannic majesty, and also the portion of St. Domingo ceded to France by the treaty of Basle, and which his most Christian majesty restores in full right and sovereignty to his Catholic majesty'' »
The island then reverted to its former name, 'Mauritius'.


History

After the Dutch East India Company, Dutch had abandoned Mauritius, the island became a list of French possessions and colonies, French colony in September 1715 when Guillaume Dufresne d'Arsel landed and took possession of it, naming the island ''Isle de France''. The French government turned over the administration of Mauritius to the French East India Company, but the island remained free of Europeans until 1721. Furthermore, until 1735, Isle de France was administered from Île Bourbon, now known as Réunion. By 1726, the company had made land grants to colonists, soldiers and workers. The grants' covenants specified that recipients of the grants who could not cultivate their land for a period of 3 years would lose them. Each colonist was given 20 slaves and in return had to pay yearly one tenth of their production to the French East India Company. The attempt to develop agriculture resulted in an increasing demand for labour. According to Lougnon, 156 ships called at Mauritius between 1721 and 1735, prior to the arrival of Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais, most of them being Company ships. Slave traders brought a total of 650 slaves to Mauritius from Madagascar, Mozambique, India and West Africa. International trade, in particular long-distance trade, grew in the 18th century and by the 1780s, France was the largest trading maritime power in Europe. The total value of French long-distance trade with Africa, Asia, Americas, America and re-exports to the rest of Europe was £25 million, whereas Britain's trade amounted to only £20 million. This state of affairs explained the growing importance of Port Louis as a centre of entrepôt trade. Among the French colonists, the lure of easy money and the importance of commercial activities contributed to their lack of interest in agriculture. Slave trade, both legal and illegal, was an important aspect of the French international trade in the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...

Indian Ocean
. A class of traders and merchants developed and thrived. Governor Charles Mathieu Isidore Decaen, suspicious of the English ship which called in there to effect repairs in 1803, imprisoned its captain Matthew Flinders on the island for several years. Flinders was returning to England from Australia with the logbooks and records of his scientific explorations.


Population

When La Bourdonnais arrived in Isle de France in 1735, there were 638 slaves in a population of 838 inhabitants. Thereafter, some 1,200 to 1,300 slaves arrived annually; within five years the number of slaves had quadrupled to 2,612 and the number of French had doubled.


Legacy

Mahé de La Bourdonnais established Port Louis as a naval base and a shipbuilding centre. Under his governorship, numerous buildings were built, a number of which are still standing today, these include part of Government House, the Château de Mon Plaisir at SSR Botanical Garden, and the Line Barracks.


See also

* British Mauritius * Dutch Mauritius * French colonial empire * Governor of Isle de France (Mauritius) * History of Mauritius * ''Paul et Virginie'' (1788 novel)


References

{{Authority control Isle de France (Mauritius), History of Mauritius, * Former colonies in Africa, Isle de France Former French colonies French colonisation in Africa States and territories established in 1715 Island countries of the Indian Ocean 1715 establishments in Isle de France (Mauritius) 1810 disestablishments in Africa