Le Morne Brabant

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UNESCO World Heritage Site
Le Morne Cultural Landscape
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Le Morne1.jpg
Le Morne Brabant
Type Cultural
Criteria iii, vi
Reference 1259
UNESCO region Africa
Inscription history
Inscription 2008 (32nd Session)

Le Morne Brabant is a peninsula at the extreme south-western tip of the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius on the windward side of the island. It is highlighted by an eponymous basaltic monolith with a summit 556 metres (1,824 ft) above sea level. The summit covers an area of over 12 hectares (30 acres). There are many caves and overhangs on the steep slopes. It is largely surrounded by a lagoon and is a well known tourist attraction. It is also a refuge for two rare plants, the Mandrinette and the Boucle d'Oreille.

Le Morne Peninsula

The peninsula was notorious in the early 19th century as a refuge for runaway slaves. After the abolition of slavery in Mauritius, on 1 February 1835 a police expedition traveled there to inform the slaves that they had been freed. However, the purpose of the expedition was misunderstood and the slaves leapt to their deaths from the rock.[citation needed] Since then the date is celebrated by Mauritian creoles as the Annual Commemoration of the Abolition of Slavery.[citation needed]

The peninsula of Le Morne benefits from a micro-climate. Le Morne Brabant Mountain was submitted to the candidate list of the World Heritage sites in 2003. In 2008, the nomination process concluded when UNESCO inscribed the site on the World Heritage List.[1]

Cultural and aesthetic impact[edit]

With Aapravasi Ghat, the first World Heritage site of Mauritius, Le Morne highlights the historical significance of slavery and indenture, two labour systems that shaped modern Mauritius. It is a unique conjunction in the Indian Ocean and abroad, and UNESCO has promoted a symbolic meeting of those two systems, to foster a better understanding among the descendants of both the slaves and indentured labourers in the colonial plantation system.

Poet Khal Torabully, who developed the concept of coolitude, springing from intercultural strata of his native island, dreams that the memories of indenture and slavery will enhance debate on identity in Mauritius and elsewhere. For him Le Morne Brabant and the Aapravasi Ghat have to be considered as two characters of a collective narrative that will enhance openness and exchanges between cultures and dispel exclusive and sectarian views of identities.

Morcellement Cambier[edit]

Located on the northern face of Le Morne Brabant is Morcellement Cambier, a gated private community of residential villas with views across the lagoon which is managed by a residents' association and not open to the public.

Further reading[edit]

  • Dominique Auzias, Jean-Paul Labourdette: Maurice, Rodrigues Le Petit futé. Country guide (Online) (French)
  • Rosabelle Boswell: Le Malaise Créole: Ethnic Identity in Mauritius Berghahn Books, 2006. ISBN 1-84545-075-2

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Inscription of Le Morne into the Word heritage List

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 20°27′38″S 57°18′49″E / 20.46056°S 57.31361°E / -20.46056; 57.31361