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.
Cyclone Hollanda was the worst tropical cyclone in Mauritius in 19 years. It formed on February 6, 1994, in the central Indian Ocean in the southern hemisphere. The cyclone moved southwestward for much of its duration, striking Mauritius on February 10 at peak intensity with winds of 155 km/h (100 mph). It later passed just southeast of Réunion before turning to the south and weakening. The cyclone became extratropical on February 14 in the southern Indian Ocean.
On Mauritius, Hollanda destroyed or severely damaged 450 houses, which left at least 1,500 people homeless. High winds left half of the island without power, and also caused severe crop damage; nearly half of the island's sugar crop was destroyed, which necessitated for the government to assist in replanting efforts. Hollanda killed 2 people and caused $135 million in damage on Mauritius. About a week after the cyclone struck, Cyclone Ivy also affected the area, although to a lesser degree. The highest rainfall from the cyclone fell on Réunion, with 741 mm (29.2 in) recorded at Grand Coude.