THREE things that we did not know about Mauritius:
- The extinct Dodo birds of Mauritius were flightless birds that were grey in colour, about 3 feet tall, and weighed 10Kgs. They had large hooked beaks and were flightless as the had no predators. Over-harvesting of the birds, combined with habitat loss and a losing competition with the newly introduced animals, was too much for the dodos to survive. The last dodo was killed in 1681, and the species was lost forever to extinction.
- Around 1638was introduced from Java for the first time in Mauritius. Due to its poor quality and blackish colour, the Dutch only used it to produce rum. Then, in the 1700s, the French with the control of the island, developed the culture of the cane to produce sugar which was then fully exploited by the English in the 1800s.
- Séga is the national dance and is performed by moving your whole body, but not your feet. Séga is also a type of music, usually sung in Creole, the mother tongue of the island, and gets the locals dancing whenever they hear it. The dance originated from the ritual music of mainland Africa and Madagascar and expresses liveliness and joy. And, originally, it was sung by men and women slaves. Traditionally, fishermen gather around a campfire and dance accompanied by the ‘Ravanne’, the ‘Triangle’, the ‘Maravanne’, the tinkiling spoons and the clapping hands of the spectators.