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The arms of Port Louis
The arms of Port Louis
Port Louis' banking district, and the main avenue leading to the Government House (seen in the background)
Port Louis' banking district, and the main avenue leading to the Government House (seen in the background)
Port Louis (pronounced locally as paw-louee) is the capital of Mauritius. It is a port on the Indian Ocean, and the nation's largest city and main port. It is located in the Port Louis District. The population is 147,688 ( 2003 census).

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History - Contents

Port Louis was founded by the French in circa 1735 as a revictualling halt for their ships travelling around the Cape of Good Hope, and was named in honour of King Louis XV. The first Governor was Count Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais.

Geography - Contents

The City of Port Louis is located at 20°10' South, 57°31'30" East (-20.1667, 57.525). [1]. Its localities include Plaine Verte, China town, Ward IV, Valle Pitot, Tranqebard and city centre. Port-Louis is capital of the District of Port-Louis.

Sights - Contents

The Citadelle dominates the city. From there, one can observe most of the city's architecture. Port Louis is surrounded by a mountain range, called the Port-Louis Moka Range. Among its most famous mountains are Le Pouce and Pieter Both which stand about 800 metres from sea level. Among the most popular spots of the City are the country's national derby called Champ de Mars, the Police Barracks known as Les Casernes and Le Port Louis Waterfront.The Mauritius Institute, dedicated to the study of the island's flora and fauna, is in Port Louis. Citizens often climb up the Signaux mountain, which is a 3 km track, that leads 500 metres high. From there, one can appreciate the landscape of the City.There are many different places to visit in Port Louis, including The Caudan Waterfront, Port Louis Bazaar and the Mauritian China town. There are also three museums to visit: Mauritius Natural History Museum, the Blue Penny Museum and the Mauritius Stamp Museum. There is also the biggest and oldest post office in Mauritius which is found near Caudan Waterfront. There is also the statue of Mahé de Labourdonnais at the Place d'Armes.Port Louis is the busiest city of the country. It faces heavy traffic congestion as there is only one motorway which leads in and out of the city. The busiest hours are 8am and 5pm, which roughly correspond to the working hours for the majority of enterprises. Parking is another big problem the city faces. The financial centre is also located there, with the Bank of Mauritius, the Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd and the State Bank of Mauritius, all having their headquarters there.The busiest street is probably Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Street, formerly known as Rue Desforges. It leads directly to the Municipality of Port-Louis, the Jummah Mosque and Kadafi Square, which is a hot place for local food.There is also a Chinese Burial ground where elaborate memorials have been erected. Dead bodies are kept in the Kit Lock which is located in the Centre of the city.Port Louis also harbours two major schools, the Royal college port louis and the Loreto College of Port Louis , Bell Village SSS and Moneron SSS. These are two of the best secondary schools of the country

Economy - Contents

The economy is dominated by its port, which handles Mauritius' international trade. The port was founded by the French who preferred Port Louis as the City is shielded by the Port Louis/Moka mountain range. Manufacturing is dominated by clothing and textiles, but also includes chemicals, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. Tourism is also important. The development of the Caudan Waterfront, central to Port Louis, with shopping and cinema facilities, appeals to tourists visiting the city. Port Louis is the second most important financial centre in Africa after Johannesburg. It is the city with the highest per capita income in Africa.

Demographics - Contents

The population of the city is now largely made up of the descendants of laborers who were hired for labor from India in the 19th century. Slaves were previously introduced by the British and French who colonized the island in the 18th century. After the abolition of slavery in 1835, many Indian and Chinese workers were brought to work the land, and cultivate sugar cane, at that time used to produce rum.Currently, the majority of the population, barely more than 50 percent, are Indians of mixed origins (a significant percentage being followers of the Hindu faith), with the rest from Africa and a minority of Chinese and Eurasians.
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