It has been frequently hypothesized that Mauritius was first discovered by the Arabs, who named the island Dina Arabi. The first historical evidence of the existence of an island now known as Mauritius is on a map produced by the Italian cartographer Alberto Cantino in 1502. Cantino shows three islands which are thought to represent the Mascarenes (Réunion, Mauritius and Rodrigues) and calls them Dina Margabin, Dina Arobi and Dina Morare. What is known is that the medieval Arab world called the south-western Indian Ocean island region Waqwaq.
Portuguese sailors (1507–1513): Mauritius was visited by the Portuguese between 1507 and 1513.
Dutch colonization (1638–1710): Dutch colonization started in 1638 and ended in 1710, with a brief interruption between 1658 and 1666.
French rule (1710–1810): Abandoned by the Dutch, the island became a French colony when, in September 1715, Guillaume Dufresne d'Arsel landed and took possession of this port of call on the route to India. He named the island "Isle de France".
British rule (1810–1968): Despite the only French naval victory (during the Napoleonic Wars) of Battle of Grand Port on 19 and 20 August 1810 by a fleet commanded by Pierre Bouvet, Mauritius was captured on 3 December 1810 by the British under Commodore Josias Rowley. Their possession of the island was confirmed four years later by the Treaty of Paris (1814). French institutions, including the Napoleonic code of law, were maintained. The French language was at that moment still used more widely than English.
Independence: Elections in 1947 for the newly created Legislative Assembly marked Mauritius's first steps toward self-rule, and were won by the Labour Party, headed by Guy Rozemont. It was the first time the elite Francophones were ousted from power. An independence campaign gained momentum after 1961.
Mauritius became an independent state on 12 March 1968.
Republic: In December 1991, the Constitution was amended to make Mauritius a republic within the Commonwealth. Mauritius became a republic on 12 March 1992.