Francophone Literatures: An Introductory Survey

By Belinda Jack | Go to book overview

6
MAURITIUS

je prophétise le sang mêlé comme une langue de feu ( E. Maunick)

The Mascareignes are a group of islands in the Indian Ocean, most importantly Mauritius (formerly the Île de France) and La Réunion (formerly the Île Bourbon), but also the tiny island of Rodrigues. The two larger islands are less than a hundred nautical miles apart. The journey takes less than twelve hours by sea and roughly threequarters of an hour by air. Rodrigues is 320 miles from Mauritius and 420 from Réunion.

When Europeans first landed on the islands in the sixteenth century, they found them uninhabited. It was not until the seventeenth century that the Dutch attempted to colonize, first bringing slaves from Indonesia and Madagascar in 1638. Their efforts lasted only twenty years. In 1664 they tried again, this time sending a fresh expedition from the Cape which they had occupied in 1652. This attempt and subsequent efforts failed and, disappointed with the lack of progress, the Dutch abandoned the island in 1710 when the French took possession and renamed it he de France. The only permanent trace of the Dutch sojourn on the island were sugar cane and the sambhur deer, both of which had been introduced from Java. The Île de France became the administrative centre of the Compagnie française des Indes, charged with the responsibility for the exploitation of the Mascareignes. This privilege was abolished in 1767 when the island came under royal control. An infrastructure was then planned and developed: plantations, the building of a transport system (the port and dockyards were expanded and developed), roads, hospitals, and barracks. The abolition of slavery at the time of the French Revolution was ignored. Bonaparte rescinded

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Francophone Literatures: An Introductory Survey
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgements *
  • Contents *
  • PART I - Europe and North America 23
  • 1 - Belgium 25
  • 2 - Switzerland 41
  • 3 - Quebec and French Canada 57
  • Guide to Further Reading 96
  • PART II - Creole Island 101
  • 4 - Antilles and Frenxh Guiana 103
  • 5 - Haiti 130
  • 6 - Mauritius 144
  • 7 - La Réunion 152
  • Guide to Further Reading 156
  • PART III - North Africa and the Near East 161
  • 8 - Algeria 165
  • 9 - Morocco 185
  • 10 - Tunisia 196
  • 11 - Egypt 207
  • 12 - Lebanon 209
  • Guide to Further Reading 212
  • PART IV - Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar 217
  • 13 - Sub-Saharan Africa 219
  • 14 - Madagascar 267
  • Guide to Further Reading 274
  • Conclusion 277
  • Select Bibliography 282
  • Index 283
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