Geographic and Governmental Profile of Mauritius

Background
Although known to Arab and Malay sailors as early as the 10th century, Mauritius was first explored by the Portuguese in the 16th century and subsequently settled by the Dutch - who named it in honor of Prince Maurits van NASSAU - in the 17th century. The French assumed control in 1715, developing the island into an important naval base overseeing Indian Ocean trade, and establishing a plantation economy of sugar cane. The British captured the island in 1810, during the Napoleonic Wars. Mauritius remained a strategically important British naval base, and later an air station, playing an important role during World War II for anti-submarine and convoy operations, as well as the collection of signal intelligence. Independence from the UK 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.
Location
Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar
Geographic coordinates
20 17 S, 57 33 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Africa
Area
total:
2,040 sq km
rank:
181
land:
2,030 sq km
water:
10 sq km
includes Agalega Islands, Cargados Carajos Shoals (Saint Brandon), and Rodrigues
Area - comparative
almost 11 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries
0 km
Coastline
177 km
Maritime claims
measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
territorial sea:
12 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
continental shelf:
200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate
tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; warm, dry winter (May to November); hot, wet, humid summer (November to May)
Terrain
small coastal plain rising to discontinuous mountains encircling central plateau
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point:
Mont Piton 828 m
Natural resources
arable land, fish
Land use
arable land:
49.02%
permanent crops:
2.94%
other:
48.04% (2005)
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Irrigated land
210 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
2.2 cu km (2001)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
0.61 cu km/yr (25%/14%/60%)
per capita:
488 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
cyclones (November to April); almost completely surrounded by reefs that may pose maritime hazards
Environment - current issues
water pollution, degradation of coral reefs
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
the main island, from which the country derives its name, is of volcanic origin and is almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs; former home of the dodo, a large flightless bird related to pigeons, driven to extinction by the end of the 17th century through a combination of hunting and the introduction of predatory species
Country name
conventional long form:
Republic of Mauritius
conventional short form:
Mauritius
local long form:
Republic of Mauritius
local short form:
Mauritius
Government type
parliamentary democracy
Capital
name:
Port Louis
geographic coordinates:
20 09 S, 57 29 E
time difference:
UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
9 districts and 3 dependencies*; Agalega Islands*, Black River, Cargados Carajos Shoals*, Flacq, Grand Port, Moka, Pamplemousses, Plaines Wilhems, Port Louis, Riviere du Rempart, Rodrigues*, Savanne
Independence
12 March 1968 (from the UK)
Constitution
12 March 1968; amended 12 March 1992
Legal system
civil legal system based on French civil law with some elements of English common law
International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Rajkeswur Kailash PURRYAG (since 21 July 2012); note - former President Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH resigned on 31 March 2012
head of government:
Prime Minister Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM (since 5 July 2005)
cabinet:
Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections:
president and vice president elected by the National Assembly for five-year terms (eligible for a second term); elections last held on 21 July 2012 (next to be held in 2017); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president, responsible to the National Assembly; note - former President Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH resigned on 31 March 2012
election results:
Rajkeswur Kailash PURRYAG elected president by unanimous vote; percent of vote by the National Assembly - NA
Legislative branch
unicameral National Assembly (70 seats; 62 members elected by popular vote, 8 appointed by the election commission to give representation to various ethnic minorities; members to serve five-year terms)
elections:
last held on 5 May 2010 (next to be held in 2015)
election results:
percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - AF 41, MMM 18, MR 2, MSF 1; appointed seats - to be assigned 8
Judicial branch
Supreme Court
Political parties and leaders
Alliance of the Future or AF [Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM] (governing coalition - includes MLP, MMSM, MR, MSD, PMSD); Mauritian Labor Party or MLP [Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM]; Mauritian Militant Movement or MMM [Paul BERENGER]; Mauritian Militant Socialist Movement or MMSM [Pravind JUGNAUTH]; Mauritian Socialist Militant Movement or MSMM [Madan DULLOO]; Mauritian Solidarity Front of FSM [Cehl FAKEERMEEAH]; Mouvement Republicain or MR [Jayarama VALAYDEN]; Maurition Social Democratic Party or PMSD [Xavier Luc DUVAL]; Rodrigues Movement or MR [Joseph (Nicholas) Von MALLY]; Rodrigues Peoples Organization or OPR [Serge CLAIR]
Political pressure groups and leaders
other:
various labor unions
International organization participation
ACP, AfDB, AOSIS, AU, C, COMESA, CPLP (associate), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, SAARC (observer), SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Somduth SOBORUN
chancery:
1709 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036; administrative offices - 3201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 441, Washington, DC 20036
telephone:
[1] (202) 244-1491 through 1492
FAX:
[1] (202) 966-0983
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Troy FITRELL
embassy:
4th Floor, Rogers House, John Kennedy Street, Port Louis
mailing address:
international mail: P. O. Box 544, Port Louis; US mail: American Embassy, Port Louis, US Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-2450
telephone:
[230] 202-4400
FAX:
[230] 208-9534
Flag description
four equal horizontal bands of red (top), blue, yellow, and green; red represents self-determination and independence, blue the Indian Ocean surrounding the island, yellow has been interpreted as the new light of independence, golden sunshine, or the bright future, and green can symbolize either agriculture or the lush vegetation of the island
National anthem
name:
"Motherland"
lyrics/music:
Jean Georges PROSPER/Philippe GENTIL
adopted 1968
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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