Mascarene Islands

The Mascarene Islands are an archipelago of the Indian Ocean formed by three main islands, Reunion, Mauritius and Rodrigues, as well as several small nearby islands. This archipelago is shared between two countries: France with La Réunion and Mauritius with the rest of the archipelago. Agaléga and the pitfalls of Cargados Carajos (Saint-Brandon) belong to Mauritius and are sometimes attached to the Mascarenes.

Mascarene Islands history

In the Middle Ages, the islands were discovered by Arab navigators who crisscross the Zanj Sea. From a European point of view, the archipelago was discovered by the Portuguese navigator Pedro de Mascarenhas on February 9, 1513. The archipelago was baptized in his honor in 1528 by his colleague Diogo Rodrigues, who gave his name to Rodrigues. On June 25, 1638 France took possession of the archipelago before the British did the same on June 29, 1642. They then landed in the harbor of Saint-Paul in Reunion. In 1735, the Frenchman Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais became the first Governor General of the Mascareignes. In 1764, the French East India Company went bankrupt and the archipelago was bought by Louis XV in 1766. François Julien du Dresnay des Roches was appointed on September 1, 1768 “Governor General of the Isles of France and Bourbon”. He writes: “There are 19,000 to 20,000 black people in the Isle of France only employed in cultivating the land. 20,000 more are needed. ” He also indicates that the preference of the colonists goes to the Blacks of Guinea or Mozambique, those of Madagascar being considered “soft, lazy, unfit and subject to go brown.

Mascarene Islands demography

The Mascarenes are populated in total by more than two million inhabitants called “Mascarins”.