Mauritius - (Africa)

Information about Mauritius

Port Louis
2040 square kilometres
Hindu 52%, Christian 28.3% (Roman Catholic 26%, Protestant 2.3%), Muslim 16.6%, other 3.1%
Christian (%)
Protestant (%)
Reformed (%)

When Europeans reached Mauritius, there was no indigenous population. Portuguese were the first to arrive (1507); they were followed, toward the end of the 16th century, by the Dutch, who established a small harbor in Mahébourg but eventually abandoned the island. In 1721 Mauritius was occupied by the French, who began to cultivate and develop it. African and Malegassi slaves were imported to do the hard labor; in particular, to clear the fields of the basalt rock covering nearly the entire volcanic island. In 1814 the island was taken over by the British.
RCath mission work began in 1722. The first Prot were Huguenots who had been deported out of France. In 1814 the London Missionary Society sent missionaries to Mauritius; they discovered the small communities of Huguenots, who had continued, together with their servants and slaves, to practice their faith. Among the missionaries, Jean Le Brun (+1865) deserves special mention. He founded free primary schools for the children of slaves, first for boys and then for girls. In 1825 Mr. Ménard, a Huguenot, built the first chapel on his property in St. Pierre. Other churches were built in the north (Port Louis/ St. Jean 1842, Grand’Gaube/St.Joseph 1867) and later in the south (Mahébourg/St.Paul 1876, St. André 1878).
In 1851 the Church of Scotland began evangelistic activities on the island. In 1876 its congr united with the existing LMS congr. From then on responsibility for the missionary work was with the Church of Scotland. A great opportunity was missed when the Presb church did not open itself for converts among the Indian population which, after the abolition of slavery, had been brought to the island to replace the former slaves; several thousands eventually joined the Angl church. However, their church, St. Columba, eventually joined the French-speaking Presbyterian communities which today form the Presbyterian Church of Mauritius.
Independence came in 1968. The change also had implications for the church, which had to reorganize itself. A synod was constituted, and more local people were trained for church ministries. Despite heavy losses through the migration of Creoles to Europe, the USA, and Australia, the church was able to maintain its level of membership and to develop a strong social work program.


Copyright © 2002 reformiert online
Stiftung Johannes a Lasco Bibliothek Grosse Kirche Emden
Kirchstrasse 22, 26721 Emden, Deutschland
Telefon: 04921 - 9150 - 0, Telefax: 04921 - 9150 - 50