From 1947 until 1963 a precursor called Indian Ocean Games Triangulaire was organized between Madagascar, Mauritius and Réunion. In Madagascar 1963, a football match between Mauritius vs Madagascar was abandoned at 1-1 in 54'. Then Madagascar declared winners of tournament. After this match Mauritius refused to play and the tournament was not held anymore.
In 1974 the Regional Olympic Committee of Réunion decide to organise a multi-sport competition in the Indian Ocean and it was finally adopted by the IOC in 1976. The competition was initially billed as the Indian Ocean Games. However, its name was changed to the Indian Ocean Island Games before the first games, without the participation of Sri Lanka, initially in the bill.
The objectives of the games is to contribute to regional cooperation through the development of sport in the region, build friendship and mutual understanding between the peoples of the islands of the Indian Ocean, in the spirit of Olympism. Allow athletes to have every four years, a competition whose interest and level are commensurate with the real sport of the region, create a regional event whose repercussions will ensure the infrastructure development of countries in the area that lags far behind.
Five countries participated in the creation of the Games. They are Sri Lanka, Seychelles, Mauritius, Comoros and Reunion. They drafted the Charter of the Games. Originally, the Games were to take place every four years, however this frequency was not observed from 1979 to 2003.