In 2017, Mauritius had a population density of 650
residents per km2. About 90 percent of the
population lives on the main island. The population consists
of people of European, African, Indian and Chinese origin.
Countryaah, 41 percent of the population lives in urban areas, the
majority in a belt from Port Louis in the northwest to
Curepipe in the middle of the island. The largest cities are
the capital Port Louis (148,100 residents, 2018), Vacoas-Phoenix
(106,200) and Beau Bassin-Rose Hill (104,400).
The official language is English, but in practice French
is used at least as widely in public contexts. A large
number of languages are represented (mainly Indian) among
the population. As a lingua franca works Mauritian, a
French-based Creole language.
When the first Arab sailors arrived in Mauritius sometime
before the 16th century, the island was uninhabited.
Portuguese arrived in the 16th century and Frenchmen in the
18th century. In 1810, Britain conquered the island. When
the slave trade ceased in 1835, Indians were imported
instead of slaves from the African mainland to work on the
sugar plantations. Today, Hinduism (2010) is comprised of an
estimated two fifths of the population. About one-third are
said to be Christian, and the largest community among them
is the Catholic Church, which was established in the country
in 1722 and today comprises about a quarter of the
population, while Protestants' share of the population is
about one-tenth. The Muslims in the country make up about
one-sixth of the population. Nine out of ten Muslims are
Sunni and the rest are Shia.
There are no references to any higher powers in the
Constitution, which means that the Republic of Mauritius
rests on secular grounds. Together with other laws, the
constitution guarantees freedom of religion, something that
the government also actively promotes. The religious
communities that existed in the country before independence
in 1968 are officially recognized by government decrees and
receive financial contributions from the state every year.
The size of the grant is determined by the number of
members. New religious organizations must be registered to
be tax exempt. There are no barriers for foreign religious
organizations to carry out missions.
Among the religious holidays which are national holidays
are both Hindu and Islamic and Christian holidays.