Mauritius is an island nation off the coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about 900 kilometres (560 mi) east of Madagascar. In addition to the island of Mauritius, the Republic includes the islands of Cargados Carajos, Rodrigues and the Agalega Islands. Mauritius is part of the Mascarene Islands, with the French island of Réunion 200 km (120 mi) to the southwest and the island of Rodrigues 570 km (350 mi) to the northeast.
Uninhabited until the 17th century, the island was ruled first by the Dutch and then the French after the Dutch had abandoned it. The British took control during the Napoleonic Wars and Mauritius became independent from the UK in 1968. Mauritius is a parliamentary republic and is member of the Southern African Development Community, the African Union and the Commonwealth of Nations.
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