Mauritius, officially the Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres off the southeast coast of the African continent, east of Madagascar. It includes the main island, as well as Rodrigues, Agaléga and St. Brandon. The islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues, along with nearby Réunion, are part of the Mascarene Islands. The capital and largest city, Port Louis, is located in Mauritius, where most of the population is concentrated. The country spans 2,040 square kilometres and has an exclusive economic zone covering 2.3 million square kilometres.
Arab sailors were the first to discover the uninhabited island, around 975, and they called it Dina Arobi. The earliest confirmed discovery was in 1507 by Portuguese sailors, who otherwise took little interest in the islands. The Dutch took possession in 1598, establishing a succession of short-lived settlements over a period of about 120 years, before abandoning their efforts in 1710. France took control in 1715, renaming it Isle de France. In 1810, the island was seized by Great Britain, and four years later France ceded Mauritius and its dependencies to Britain.