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), is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent. Mauritius was a British colonial possession from 1810 to 1968, the year of its independence. The island of Mauritius was visited during the Middle Ages by the Arabs and then by the Portuguese, who named it Dina Arobi and Cirne, respectively.The country includes the island of Mauritius, Rodrigues [560 kilometres (350 mi) east], and the outer islands (Agaléga, St. The islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues (172 km (107 mi) southwest) form part of the Mascarene Islands, along with nearby Réunion, a French overseas department. The island was uninhabited until the Dutch Republic established a colony in 1638, with the Dutch naming the island after Prince Maurice van Nassau.They formally surrendered on the fifth day of the invasion, 3 December 1810, on terms allowing settlers to keep their land and property, the use of the French language, and the law of France in criminal and civil matters.Under British rule, the island became the Empire's main sugar-producing colony.In 1992, Mauritius became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations.
In the 20th century, movements to improve labour laws and introduce political reforms began to be organized, a process that accelerated after World War II.The country became an independent state on 12 March 1968, following the adoption of a new constitution.