How colonialism contributed to the lack of development in Mauritius.

Essay by GPSUniversity, Bachelor's August 2003

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How colonialism contributed to the lack of development in Mauritius.

Colonialism means the policy of acquiring colonies and keeping them dependant. The Dutch, France and Britain colonized Mauritius. The British were most successful in Mauritius, but colonialism depressed development.

The Dutch period lasted from 1598 to 1710 but the first attempt to settle lasted only 20 years. Many attempts were made after that but with little success. They were only successful in the introduction of sugar cane, domestic animals, deer and slavery. In September of 1715 Mauritius was taken by France and changed to Isle de France. The island started developing efficiently. They established Port Louis as a naval base and shipbuilding center and the Ile de France were used to organize successful raids on British commercial ships. The slave trade was also taking off and over time there emerged a colonial society of extreme inequality where all the power belonged to the estate planters from France while the labour became the lot of the slaves imported from Africa and Madagascar.

Colonists on the Ile de France were plagued by problems of maroonage (plantation slaves which flight from there masters). Even the earliest settlers in 1725 -only four years after the French occupation, had problems with this. The missionary Ducros reported that 'maroon slaves were the principal danger feared by colonists.' In 1729 the administrative council noted that the "solid settlement of the Ile de France" required the destruction of fugitive slaves inhabiting the island. They even deployed fugitive slave patrols that captured and killed many of these maroons. In 1810 a strong British expedition captured the island and gave it back its former name 'Mauritius' and it was ceded definitely to Great Britain. They also had many problems with the runaway slaves who committed crimes like murder, damaging...