It was in 1598 that the Dutch first arrived to Mauritius, once uninhabited island. They already had a settlement in Java and were busy in developing their spice trade; so they only took some interest in Mauritius in 1638 when they sent a contingent to exploit the natural resources—and to stop the French or the English from settling there. Their main base was at Grand Port, around Frederick Hendrik’s Fort. They introduced, amongst others, sugar cane and stag. The Dutch abandoned the island in 1710. Then under British Rule the capitulation treaty was a true gentlemen’s agreement allowing the inhabitants to retain their laws, customs and religions. Under Governor Farquhar, who had local interests at heart, conditions favourable to Mauritius were established, first by the repeal of the navigation laws (allowing for the liberation of trade relations outside England) and secondly by the import of Mauritian sugar into England at the same preferential price as that of the British West Indies. Mauritius from then on became a “plantation colony” rather than a maritime one. It was a decisive period when the sea was abandoned in favour of sugar.
Discover the following in various pavilions amongst the equipment used for sugar production.