• Demographic History – Republic of Mauritius – 400 years of settlement – Immigration & emigration

    The Island is built

    10 million to 7.8 millions years sucessive flows of lava build the foundation of the island

    • 7.8 million years ago Mauritius emerged and went on growing over 4 different phases of volcanic activity.
    •  20 000 years ago saw the last flows of lava in the country..
    • 4 000 years ago is the likely time when the dodos of pigeon origin evolved and adopted their unique features .
    • Birds and endemic plants grow and multiply in this isolated and secure spot  in spite of the predators introduced by the explorers and navigators.

     

    First Visitors

    • Arabs
    • Portuguese
    • Dutch
    • Temporary residents : sailors passing through or survivors of shipwrecks who stayed on the island for a while.

     

    1638-1658, 1664 -1710 : T’Eyland Mauritius 
    70 years of Dutch settlement

    • Dutch employees of the Dutch East India Company, first permanent residents of T’Eyland Mauritius.
    • In 1638, a decree  : number of Dutch people on island not to exceed 60
    • In 1702, the small community consists of 52 Dutch people and slaves recruited in Madagascar
    • In 1710, the Dutch leave the island: 111men 58 women and 67 slaves.
    • Accommodation for these 236 people had to be found on the few boats which put in at Mauritius

     

    Slaves and Runaway slaves

    • 1639 : first 3 slaves : 2 divers from Muscat (modern Java), and 1 from Bengal.
    • 1642 : first slaves from Madagascar. Out of the 155 arrivals 52 men and women fled into the forests, only 18 are captured. The first runaway slaves of the island . (Dr. K. Heeringa)
    • 1695 : the destruction by fire of Fort Frederik Hendry by 4 runaway slaves
    • After the 1710 evacuation only a small number of runaway slaves , sailors and pirates remain on the island.

     

    Slavery and Indentured Labour

    •  Slavery existed from 1638 and was officially abolished in 1835.
    • Apprentice system to keep workers on sugar estates abolished in 1839
                      Search for cheap manpower starts as early as 1815
    • From 1825, contracted manpower is imported for the cultivation of sugar cane
    • From1840 to1860,208,000 agricultural workers arrive from India
    •  Justice and Truth Commission is established in 2007 to evaluate the repercussions of slavery.

     

     

    L’Isle de France 
    From 1715-1810 : 95 years of French occupation

    • In 1722 : first French  settlers number 185
    • 20 of them are officers, 100 are soldiers along with some slaves et some colonists
    • In 1735, when Mahé de Labourdonnais arrived, there are 838 in habitants, 648 of whom are slaves 
    •  Sailors came first then traders, followed by settlers.
    • Towards 1760 : almost 20 000 in habitants : 1 998 white people 18 000 slaves, 400-500 free black people .
    • Slaves, chiefly from Madagascar or Mozambique to clear the land, build the roads and develop the country..
    • In 1809 : 55 500 slaves & 13 500 free emancipated slaves
    •  Craftsmen arrive in small groups from India

     

     

     

    From 1810 to 1968:

    158 years of British occupation

    • In 1810, when the French era reaches its end there are around 89 000 inhabitants and a plurality of races and cultures.

     In 1830 ,there are 96 779 Mauritians that is to say the population is under 100 000

    From 1840 to 1860, the population doubles

     

     

    208 000 agricultural workers imported from India.

    • From 1846 to 1861, within 20 years, the population goes from 158000 to 310 000.
    •  In 1851 Mauritians number 183 506 .
    • En 1861, there are 313 462 Mauritians, of these 192 634 are from India
    • The Indo- Mauritian population goes from 77 996 in 1851 to 192 634 in 1861, an increase of 114 638 people over a short period of ten years

     

     

    From 1861 to 1920, 159 000 Indian immigrants arrive in the country

    • Only 60 000 of them become permanent settlers All the same over the six decades the population does not increase
    • In 1861 : 310 000 Mauritians
    • En 1931 : 393,200 Mauritians because of the epidemics which limit life expectancy.
    • 7 decades of demographic stagnation

     

    Eradication of malaria.

    • In the early 1940s, DDT campaigns against malaria
    • 1945 around 3 500 deaths caused by malaria.
    • In 1948 only 1 500 deaths.
    • In 1951 there are only 285 cases of malaria.
    • In 1956, malaria is no longer a fatal disease in the country
    •  Life expectancy increases, families grow larger

     

    In two centuries, the decades 40 to 60 stand out as far as population is concerned

     

    • In 1846, there are 158 462 inhabitants. In 1860 310 050 Mauritians.
    • An almost stationary figure over a century.
    • In 1944, population only reached  400 000
    • In 1944, there are 419 185 in habitants. In 1962, population has reached 681 619.

     

    The brakes to demographic growth are off

    • From 1940 to 1960 : baby boom, natural growth in population of 269 000 people
    • Exceptional growth rate of 3.12 % between 1950 and 1960
    • The Titmuss et Meade : reports forecast a population of around 3 million by the end of 2000.In reality there is only a gradual growth of some 100 000 persons per decade
    • Family Planning et Action Familiale launch planning campaigns to make the population aware of the need to limit population growth.
    •  

    Evolution of the population 1830-2000

     

    Population on the increase

    It is only in 1990 that the Mauritian population reached the million mark

     

    • In 1952                   447 462 Mauritians
    • In 1962                   681 619
    • In 1972                  850 968
    • In 1982                   999 945
    • In 1992                  1 056 660
    • In 2001                  1 198 848

    An increase which is slowing down and which will inevitably cause an ageing of the population

     

     

    Urban and rural population in the year 2000

     

    Rural Mauritius in 2000 : 640 024 people

    • 57 % of the population live in villages spread over 91.7 % of the area of the island
    • Of the 124 Village Councils only one has reached a population level of 20 000
    • 5 Village Coucils have reached the 15 000 to 20 000 population level
    • No taxes on residential properties in rural areas – no massive emigration
    • Density of rural regions: 376 persons per square km.
    •  

     

    Urban Mauritius : 503 045 persons in 2 000

    • In 2000, 43 % of the population live in the 6 towns.
    • These 6 towns are all gathered on an axis of around 20 kilometres covering 8.3 % of the area of Mauritius which is 165 square kms. 
    • Density in the towns: 3, 049 persons per square km.

     

    .

    Repartition of the 43 % townspeople

    •  Comparative tables show that urban population went from 263 154 persons in 1962 to 503 405 persons in 2000. The population in the towns has doubled 

    In 2000  3 towns of more than 100 000 people

    • Port-Louis the largest with 144,303 habitants, that is 28.7 % of the urban population
    • B-Bassin/Rose-Hill, the second in size has 20.6% of the urban population .
    • Vacoas-Phoenix is the third agglomeration with 19.9 of the urban population
    • Curepipe and Quatre-Bornes each have around 15 % of the urban population

     

    Diversification of the urban web.

    •  Housing conditions change.
    •  Freestanding houses are replaced by blocks of flats 
    • High density buildings on a constant rise.
    •  Collective housing limited to specific pre-urban areas
    •  Large shopping centres are built outside urban areas 
    • In the daytime a high proportion of the workforce congregates in the cities.    
    •  
    • Population in 2000

     

    To Conclude

    • 17th century : unsuccessful attempt at Dutch colonisation
    • By the end of the 18th century : some 90 000 inhabitants in the French colony of Mauritius.
    • Slaves make up 2/3 of the population
    • By the end of the 19th century: some 370 000 inhabitants in the English colony of Mauritius.
    • Contracted workers from India constitute 2/3 of the population
    • By the end of the 20th century in the Republic of Mauritius some 1,1 million Mauritian citizens.

    What will the 21st century bring? Stagnation ? Decrease ? Increase?

     It will depend on what every Mauritian, feels and does for his/her country

     

     

    The saga of departures 

    The diaspora of 1960-2004

     

    Methodology

    • Most reliable source : the ten yearly census from The Statistics bureau
    • Information gathered from Passport office, figures available up to 1994 . From 1961to1994: 48,648 official migrants there were also cases of non-official migration. 

    –               Statisics Bureau : arrival and departure forms of travelling Mauritians, When the departures exceed the arrivals the passengers have not returned they have therefore migrated, .

    • From 1990, the statistics bureau Bureau has basesd its calculations on the number of births and deaths.
    • Any resulting gap constitutes the number of migrants 
    •  

    3 major stages

    • 1960 – 1980 : for the most part whole families leaving and for the majority of these this means permanent exile
    • 1980 – 2000 : mostly individuals with work contracts
    • From 200l

    –               Departure of nurses, computer scientists and other technicians-in response to an urgent need for qualified migrants in Western countries

    –               Return of a number of Mauritians who have reached retirement age

     

    2 other styles of migration

    • Marriage : visa for a foreign country.
    •     This partly explains why the rate of female migrants is high
    •  The present trend is towards cohabitation However 1 /3 of marriages in France are mixed marriages with non-French citizens
    •  More and more Mauritian students stay overseas at the end of their studies

       The numbers accumulate from year to year

     

    1960-1980 : the golden age of migration 

    To facilitate migration

    •  The Catholic Migration Office financed the departure of around 2 500 families
    •  Popularity of charter flights at 1/3 of the real cost from 1965 to 1975

     

     

    The problems
    The state maintains the myth of migration :

    –               Official declarations, a ministry but nothing very concrete- visas are hard to obtain borders are closed.

    ?              after the Gulf  War in the Middle East in 1974, increase in the cost of fuel ,

    –               The policy of Air Mauritius towards charter flights.

    –                Financial restrictions : 35% tax after Rs. 100 000

    –               Racket illegal emigration, fake travel agents.

     

    Why Leave?

    • Political and economic instability prompted the departure of families
    • Unemployment levels.
    • The fear of missing out if host countries reduce their migrant intake
    • Desire for higher wages .

      Doors in Europe closing
    Problems with obtaining visas

    England

    • 1962 : No entry permit without an employment card
    • 1968 : Commonwealth Immigrants’ Act

    France

    • 1968 : no entry without an employment card
    • 1975 : No entry without a visa Problem of illegal migrants .

    Italy

    • 1981  Compulsory work contract and visa 

     

          

    Australia

    • 1966 :At last citizens of non European Commonwealth countries are granted free entry
    • 1973 :Reduction of the quota of migrants per country
    • 1982 : Labour market open only to Australian citizens
    •  1985 : Australian High Commission established in Mauritius.Very strict control
    •  

     

    Mauritian migrants from 1961-1982
     based on the time of implantation and the countries

     

    Émigrés mauriciens de 1961-1982 (approximatif)Mauritian migrants from 1961 to 1982 (approximately)

    Give an account of the diaspora

    1961- 1982

    1980-2000

    Migration of workers under contract

    Temporary migration depending on work contracts towards Middle East and African countries

    •  Underground migration to Europe
    •  Weak flow of migration to Australia and some European countries
    • Family migration on a very limited scale

     

    From 1980 
     A different type of emigration

    According to statistical estimates, the annual average

    • from 1983-1990 : 5 200 migrants
    • from 1990-2000 : 1 194 migrants

     

     

    1980-1990
    Who were the migrants ?

    “ The rise in migration over the perioda 1982-87 was the result of the migration of domestic and hotel employees, masons, carpenters labourers , teachers in countries like Botswana, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other similar countries

    Analysis report Vol 1V P 22

     

    From 1991-2000

    •  According to official estimates the average number of people leaving from 1991 to 2000 is 1200 per year
    •  In the first six years the number of people leaving was larger
    • From 1997 to 2000 there is a surplus of about 3000 people returning to Mauritius
    • In a reverse trend from 83  90, the migrants are mostly men.
    •  

    Definite decrease in the rate of migration 1990 -2000
    More Mauritians returning than leaving from 1995-2000

    2000-2004
    Increase in the Mauritian population 
    More people returning than leaving

    1960-2000
    Estimates of the total number of migrants no figures given

    Visits of the families that have migrated

    •  Family ties strong in the diaspora
    •  Many Mauritians visit their relatives overseas and stay at their place
    • Europe : first destination
    • Asia mostly visits to the relatives who have stayed in the countries of origin
    •  

    Departure of Mauritian Residents towards different continents

    Departure of Mauritian residents to a range of European countries

     

    21 776 expatriates work in Mauritius in 2003
    850 requests for Mauritian citizenship per year

     

    Conclusions and interrogations

    •  110 000 à 115 000 departures during the last 40 years    
    • Migration involves women as much as men
    • The children of permanent migrants are not taken into account in these results.
    • How many of them are they?
    • Do they feel that they belong to the Mauritian diaspora??

    –               Have they really lost all contact with their native country?

    –               They constitute an interesting group for the promoters of Mauritian tourism.

    The temporary migrants are workers under contract who will eventually come back to Mauritius.

    New tendencies

    • . The number of Mauritian residents arriving is consistently higher than the number of those leaving
    • The number of people migrating to Mauritius is higher than the number of people leaving
    • Those who come back,  having reached retirement age, come back to experience the quality of life they once enjoyed.
    • Continuous migration of younger Mauritians- chiefly those who have completed tertiary studies

     

    To gather the DIASPORA

    •  Deepen the Mauritian sense of identity to make young people eager to come back to Mauritius
    •  
    •  What incentives to motivate them to come back?
    •  Let us be aware of the lack of incentive
    • How is one to obtain work with a worthwhile salary:

            What support is available in the workplace?

           Let us widen our boundaries by gathering together the diaspora?

     

    July 2006   InternatinalSymposium on the Mauritian diaspora

     “Pa Bliye Nou Rasinn – Pou Que Nos Racines Ne Se Perdent”.

    The major participants : Mauritians who had migrated to Europe, Australia South Africa North America, and Asia over the last forty years .

    1st day     : All members of the diaspora

    2ème day : Dream the future of our country .

    3ème jour : To uproot oneself To put down roots… Multiple loyalties divided hearts

    :

     

    Ananda Devi Mauritian writer well known in France

    In quotidien mauricien l’express 30 juin 2006

    • J I think more and more when I come back to Mauritus how much I feel more and more that I am at home in a visceral way. Even when I hear the wind I feel it does not sound , it does not feel as it does elsewhere A feeling that I am where I belong.
    • . You are in the country where you ought to be?
    • ?

                . Yes this is what I feel This does not mean that I am unhappy elsewhere ….. Here I renew myself I rediscover my markers.

    24/11/2000 Monique DINAN