After centuries of foreign domination, Mauritius-an island nation located in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar-eventually became a British protectorate. After obtaining independence in 1968, Mauritius became one of the most highly developed countries in Africa. Some 42 percent of the population now lives in urban areas, and 70.5 percent of the gross national product is derived from the service industry.

With a per capita income of $12,400 and an unemployment rate of 7.8 percent, 8 percent of the population live in poverty. Most Mauritians are Indo-Mauritian (68 percent), but there is also a large group of Creoles (27 percent). The largest religious groups are Hindu (48 percent), Roman Catholic (23.6 percent), and Muslim (16.6 percent). Although English is the official language, more than 80 percent ...

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