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The Mauritius Portaledit
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Mauritius Listeni/məˈrɪʃəs/ (Mauritian Creole: Moris; French: Maurice, pronounced: [mɔˈʁis]), officially the Republic of Mauritius (Mauritian Creole: Republik Moris; French: République de Maurice) is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) off the south east coast of the African continent. The country includes the islands of Agaléga, Saint Brandon and Rodrigues. Mauritius forms part of the Mascarene Islands, which include the neighbouring islands of Réunion, Saint Brandon and Rodrigues. The area of the country is 2040 km2, its capital is Port Louis.

The first Portuguese explorers found no indigenous people living on the island in 1507. The island of Mauritius was the only home of the Dodo bird. The bird became extinct fewer than eighty years after its discovery. The Dutch settled on the island in 1598 and abandoned it in 1710, Mauritius became a French colony in 1715 and was renamed Isle de France. The British took control of Mauritius in 1810 during the Napoleonic Wars. The country became an independent state as a Commonwealth realm on 12 March 1968 and a republic within the Commonwealth on 12 March 1992.

The country's populace is composed of several ethnicities, mostly people of Indian, African, Chinese and European descent. Most Mauritians are multilingual, English, French, Creole and Asian languages are used.

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Cyclone Hollanda

The Invasion of Île de France was a complicated but successful amphibious operation in the Indian Ocean, launched in November 1810 during the Napoleonic Wars. During the operation, a substantial British military force was landed by the Royal Navy at Grand Baie on Île de France. Marching inland against weak French opposition, the British force was able to overwhelm the defenders in a series of minor engagements, culminating in the capture of the island's capital Port Napoleon and the surrender of Charles Decaen, the French governor. The surrender eliminated the last French territory in the Indian Ocean and among the military equipment captured were five French Navy frigates and 209 heavy cannon. Île de France was retained by Britain at the end of the war under the name of Mauritius and remained part of the British Empire until 1968.

The operation was the culmination of two years of conflict over the island and the neighbouring Île Bourbon between frigate squadrons commanded by Josias Rowley and Jacques Hamelin. Hamelin repeatedly raided British trade convoys and Rowley responded with amphibious assaults on French harbours, but neither had gained ascendancy by the time Rowley sent most of his force to attack the port of Grand Port on Île de France in August 1810. At the ensuing battle the British squadron was destroyed and Hamelin began to blockade Rowley on Île Bourbon. As British reinforcements were urgently despatched, several actions were fought between recently arrived British ships and the more numerous French forces. At the last of these on 18 September 1810, Hamelin was defeated and captured by Rowley. This allowed Rowley to build his forces over the next two months until they were sufficient for a successful invasion, which was led by the recently arrived Admiral Albemarle Bertie.

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Myripristis pralinia.jpg
Credit: Hans Hillewaert
Big eye soldierfish (Myripristis pralinia) off the resort of Trou aux Biches, Mauritius.
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Patrick Kisnorbo.jpg

Patrick Fabio Maxime Kisnorbo (born 24 March 1981) is an Australian footballer of Mauritian and Italian heritage who plays for Leeds United in League One of the English Football League. Kisnorbo is also an Australian international with 18 caps to his name.

Kisnorbo plays at centre-back but in the past he has also played as a defensive midfielder. He was a fans' favourite at Leicester City, accumulating over 100 appearances in his four years at the club. During his time with Leicester, he was at the centre of a number of refereeing controversies in which officiating calls were later shown to be wrong. He has also suffered some injuries that affected his playing ability for a time. Kisnorbo has represented Australia at international level in three tournaments; the 2002 and 2004 Oceania Nations (OFC) Cups and the 2007 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup. He started his professional career at South Melbourne and later played for the Scottish club Hearts before joining Leicester and then transferring to Leeds United.

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Jacques-Désiré Laval

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Burning sugar cane fields near Pointes aux Piments
Credit: Hansueli Krapf

Burning sugar cane fields near Pointes aux Piments, Mauritius.

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