The New York Times, February 5, 1861:|
THE MAURITIUSSome Interesting facts about the Island--Its Immense Sugar Crop
Capture of a Slaver--Cruise of the Dacotah
Correspondence of the New-York Times:
United States Ship Dacotah, Point de Galle, Island of Ceylon, Dec. 5, 1860.
I write to you from the quaint old town of Galle, Ceylon, the coal dépôt of the East India Company. Our stay is limited to the time needed for repairs and to coal-ship. We will then proceed to Penang, thence to Hong-Kong, via Singapore.
We sailed from Port Louis, Mauritius, on the 22nd ult., leaving the harbor crowded with vessels shipping off the year's produce, consisting of 260,000,000 pounds of sugar. It is almost inconceivable to realize the idea that so small an island should yield such a large crop. When we consider that the production of the soil is not its only resources, we can understand the great care that Great Britain takes of her "pearl of the Indian Ocean."
The prevailing opinion in Mauritius was that the French forces in China will, after adjusting the existing difficulties, proceed to Bourbon, where arrangements are in progress for the equipment or an expedition for the subjugation of Madagascar. No doubt the Emperor again has outgeneraled old Palmerston, and by possessing Madagascar he will keep England in constant alarm for the safety of the colonies.
The facilities which Mauritius affords for repairing and provisioning a fleet, and the loss suffered by the commerce of India during the last war, induced Great Britain in 1810 to to fit out a formidable expedition to capture it. Mauritius then formed the connecting link between the Cape and the Indian colonies. In military, as well as commercial point of view, its position is most important. For [with] the colonies connected England commands the sea, and can at short notice concentrate a large force upon a given point.
France, in occupying Madagascar, severs this link, [and] menaces both the Cape Colony and Mauitius, where anti-British feeling predominates. England, foreseeing the gathering storm, has selected the port of Mahebourg, Mauritius, for the site of a military post. Admiral Keppel and Governor Stephenson had, during last October, visited and reported in favor of the locality.
I have said the soil of Mauritius is not its only wealth. A large revenue is derived from the repairs of vessels. No less than three dry docks are in constant operation. The island of Mauritius is situated in the hurricane regions, so that the distressed vessels of all nations put into Port Louis to refit. The dock lately constructed in Simon's Bay will deprive Mauritius of the crafts disabled off the Cape of Good Hope, but even then Mauritius will reap from the disastrous effects of the hurricanes.
Five American vessels were repaired in Port Louis during the year 1858, and seven during 1859. On the 22nd ult. the following American ships were there refitting: A whaler; ship Western Ocean, Simons, Philadelphia; ship Waban, Harbridge. The latter ship will be sold, as the refitting would cost more than her actual value. The Western Ocean was bound to Calcutta; her cargo of salt was one-third damaged.
The slaver Manuelita, alias Sunny South of Boston, was in port, a prize to H.M. steamer. Her model is beautiful, and her great speed attracted Admiral Keppel's notice. He purchased her for Government purposes. On dit, that after using the Sunny South as a cruiser, the Admiral intends to send her to England, that the naval architects will have a superior model to copy from. The Maunuelita had over 700 slaves when captured. She showed Mexican colors.
The United States steamship Dacotah made the passage from Mauritius to Ceylon in eleven days. This is considered a good trip. The Dacotah will answer as a dispatch-boat, but she is totally unfit for a man-of-war. Her constant rolling disbles the battery.
So much for gun-boats.
Your obedient servant
All of Mauritius
is one time zone at GMT+4,
with no Daylight Savings time.
Although known to Arab and Malay sailors as early as the 10th century, Mauritius was first explored by the Portuguese in 1505; it was subsequently held by the Dutch, French, and British before independence was attained in 1968.
A stable democracy with regular free elections and a positive human rights record, the country has attracted considerable foreign investment and has earned one of Africa's highest per capita incomes.
Recent poor weather and declining sugar prices have slowed economic growth, leading to some protests over standards of living in the Creole community.
CIA World Factbook: Mauritius
Area of Mauritius:
2,040 sq km almost 11x the size of Wash., DC
Population of Mauritius:
1,250,882 July 2007 estimate
Languages of Mauritius:
English, French both official
Creole, Hindi, Urdu, Hakka, Bhojpuri
Mauritius Reference Articles and Links
Wikipedia: Mauritius - History of Mauritius
LOC: Mauritius Country Study
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US State Department: Mauritius Profile
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