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Mauritius was known to Arab navigators probably not later than the 10th century. Malays almost certainly visited in the 15th century and it was discovered by the Portuguese between 1507 and 1512. But the Dutch were the first settlers in 1598 who named it after their stadtholder, Count Maurice. In 1710 they abandoned the island which was occupied by the French under the name of Ile de France in 1715. The British occupied the island in 1810 and it was formally ceded to Great Britain by the Treaty of Paris, 1814. The majority of the population were descendants of slaves brought by the French from Madagascar and East Africa, and indentured Indian labourers brought by Britain. European settlers unsuccessfully opposed calls for independence, and the elections in August 1967 provided an overwhelming mandate; independence was attained within the Commonwealth on 12 March 1968. Mauritius became a republic on 12 March 1992.
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