|c. 1.4 million|
(Mauritian ancestry and citizenship worldwide)
|Regions with significant populations|
|Other countries combined||5,609|
Mauritians (singular Mauritian; French: Mauricien; Creole: Morisien) are nationals or natives of the Republic of Mauritius and their descendants. Mauritius is a multiethnic society, descended from Indian, African, Chinese and European (mostly of French origin) ancestry.
Mauritian Creoles trace their origins to the plantation owners and slaves who were brought to work the sugar fields. When slavery was abolished on 1 February 1835, an attempt was made to secure a cheap source of adaptable labour for intensive sugar plantations in Mauritius. Indentured labour began with Chinese, Malay, African and Malagasy labourers, but ultimately, it was India which supplied the much needed laborers to Mauritius. This period of intensive use of Indian labour took place during British rule, with many brutal episodes and a long struggle by the indentured for respect. The term applied to the indentured during this period, and which has since become a derogatory term for Mauritians of Asian descent, was coolie. The island soon became the key-point in the trade of indentured laborers, as thousands of Indians set forth from Calcutta or Karikal; not only did they modify the social, political and economic physiognomies of the island, but some also went farther, to the West Indies.
Indo-Mauritians are descended from Indian immigrants who arrived in the 19th century via the Aapravasi Ghat in order to work as indentured laborers after slavery was abolished in 1835. Included in the Indo-Mauritian community are Muslims (about 17% of the population) from the Indian subcontinent. The Franco-Mauritian elite controls nearly all of the large sugar estates and is active in business and banking. As the Indian population became numerically dominant and the voting franchise was extended, political power shifted from the Franco-Mauritians and their Creole allies to the Indo-Mauritians.
The meeting of a mosaic of people from India, China, Africa and Europe began a process of hybridisation and intercultural frictions and dialogues, which poet Khal Torabully has termed "coolitude". This social reality is a major reference for identity opened to otherness and is widely used in Mauritius where it represents a humanism of diversity.
Subsequent to a Constitutional amendment in 1982, there is no need for Mauritians to reveal their ethnic identities for the purpose of population census. Official statistics on ethnicity are not available. The 1972 census was the last one to measure ethnicity.
The Mauritian diaspora consists of Mauritian emigrants and their descendants in various countries around the world, mainly Great Britain (United Kingdom), Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France and Ireland.
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- Ministry of Finance & Economic Development (January–June 2012). "Population and vital statistics Republic of Mauritius" (PDF). Government of Mauritius. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- Lincoln, David (2015). "Sewing machinists and bricklayers abroad: Migrant Labour and development in Mauritius" (PDF). Journal of Mauritian Studies. p. 9. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- "Australia Census 2016".
- Khal Torabully, Coolitude: An Anthology of the Indian Labour Diaspora (with Marina Carter, Anthem Press, London, 2002) ISBN 1-84331-003-1
- La Redaction (5 June 2008). "A critical appraisal of the Best Loser System". L'Express (Mauritius). Retrieved 11 November 2017.
- M. Rafic Soormally (10 September 2012). "Debate on Best Loser System". Le Défi Media Group. Archived from the original on 21 January 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
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