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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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The dodo (Raphus cucullatus) was a flightless bird endemic to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. It stood about a metre (3.3 feet) tall, weighing about 20 kilograms (44 lb). The species lost the ability to fly because on Mauritius food was abundant and mammalian predators were absent. It was related to pigeons and doves, and its closest relative was the Rodrigues Solitaire, which is also extinct. The external features of the dodo are only known from paintings and written accounts from the 17th century, but because these vary considerably, and only a few sketches are known to have been drawn from life, mystery remains over its exact appearance. The same is true of its habitat and behaviour.

The dodo was first mentioned by Dutch sailors in 1598. By 1681, all dodos had been killed by sailors or their domesticated animals. This was not realized at the time, since the dodo barely left any traces after its extinction, and was later believed to have simply been a mythological creature until the 19th century, when research was conducted on some of the few surviving remains of specimens that had been taken to Europe in the 17th century. Since then, a large amount of sub-fossil material has been collected from Mauritius, increasing the amount of solid evidence relating to the bird. The extinction of the bird, within 80 years of its discovery, made people realise for the first time that humans could induce the extinction of plants and animals.

The dodo was made well-known to the public due to a notable role in Alice in Wonderland, and it has since become a fixture in popular culture. Its name has subsequently become associated with the notion of extinction and obsolescence.

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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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Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam KT, GCMG, KCMG, LRCP, MRCS (Hindi: सीवसगुर रंगूलम born on 18 September 1900 – 15 December 1985) was the first Chief Minister, Prime Minister and sixth Governor General of Mauritius.

He graduated from University College London and attended lectures at the London School of Economics. Ramgoolam was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours of 12 June 1965. Ramgoolam served as Chief Minister from 1961 to 1968, Prime Minister from 1968 until 1982 and lastly as Governor General from 1983 to 1985. He is known as the "Father of the Nation". Amidst much decolonisation, he led Mauritius to independence from the United Kingdom in 1968. He is perhaps the highest respected personality of Mauritius as he has various streets, public places such as a garden, a college, and the national airport, as well as his face on every Mauritian Rupee coin and on the highest note tender of Rs 2,000.

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Jacques-Désiré Laval

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Pamplemousse Botanical Garden
Credit: Hansueli Krapf

Pamplemousse Botanical Garden, Mauritius.

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