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"Mauritius may have been known to Arab traders as early as the 10th century, but was discovered unpopulated by the Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas in 1505. The island was briefly occupied by the Dutch, then colonised by the French from 1715 until the British won a decisive naval battle at Grand Baie in 1810. France ceded Mauritius (Known as L'ile de France) to Great Britain in the 1814 Treaty of Paris. It remained British until gaining independence in 1968. Still, Mauritius retains much of the French culture, and the dominant language remains a French patois. "

 (Submitted by Noel Thu Apr 29, 2004 )
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