Dutch in Mauritius

mauritius travel and tourism guide
Mauritius ancient tools during dutchAt the end of the 16th century, the Dutch had become the most powerful mercantile fleet in Europe. They had taken on the whole distribution of oriental products to Europe. Between 1598-1616, Mauritius was used as a refreshing station. This first period is quite obscure and the Dutch on their way to the Malay Peninsula and Batavia only occasionally used the island. When in 1611 a new route to the East Indies was discovered (East of Good Hope until the Australian coast and up north to the Malay Peninsula) the island was used as a refreshing station during only one season. The shipwreck of Pieter Both off the coast of Medine on the west coast of Mauritius made the sailors even more apprehensive about stopping to Mauritius. By 1615, Good Hope was the only port of call of the Dutch on their way east. When the Dutch left, other nations started showing interest in the island especially because of the ebony. The British who were minor partners of the Dutch started using the island as a port of call on their way to India and the French were also present in the Indian Ocean in Madagascar. Under threat from other nations and especially pressured by the Dutch East India Company which wanted to set up a private base on the island, the Dutch authorities reacted so as to keep their privileges. On the 7th of May 1638 the Dutch headed by Cornelius Simons Gooyer, 1st ‘Opperhood’ Governor landed in the south-east of the island at Grand Port. Their aims were
 

To fall ebony trees for the European market
To find ambergris
To cultivate crops and tobacco
To breed cattle and foods for the settlers and visitors to the island
To receive invalids from Batavia
To build a fort at Grand Port
To prevent the French and English from using the island and maintain their hegemony in the Indian Ocean

 
This first occupation ended in 1658. A number of reasons can account for this failure namely :-
 
The failure of the crops because of rats and climatic conditions
The development of the Cape of Good Hope
The decrease in ebony trees
The war in Europe between the United Provinces and England
 
Mauritius dodoThe second occupation of the island started in 1664 and ended in 1710. This second occupation was prompted by the great demand of timber at the Cape of Good Hope. During this occupation, the Dutch East India Company had recourse to convicts, drunkards and runaways to people of Mauritius. But again they failed to set up a permanent base. The harsh climatic conditions (droughts and cyclones), rats, and other external reasons like conflicts in Europe and the fall of the Dutch Empire meant that by 1710, the Dutch finally left the island. When they left the total population on the island was only 300, mostly men who had been deported to the island.
 
The Dutch left a mixed legacy. They left sugar cane and deer but the introduction of rats by the Dutch led to the extinction of the Dodo
 
 
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History
Introduction

Dutch in Mauritius
French Period
British Take Over
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