Rodrigues island

General Informations

 Rodrigues (French: île Rodrigues) is an autonomous outer  Island of the Republic of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, about 650 kilometres  east of Mauritius.]It is part of the Mascarene Islands which include Mauritius and Réunion. It is of volcanic origin surrounded by coral reef, and just off its coast lie some tiny uninhabited islands. The island used to be the tenth District of Mauritius, it gained autonomous status on 10 December 2002, and it is governed by the Rodrigues Regional Assembly. The capital of the island is Port Mathurin.

Its inhabitants are Mauritian citizens. As of 2014, the island's population was about 41,669, according to Statistics Mauritius. Most of the inhabitants are of mixed African and French descent. Its economy is based mainly on fishing, farming, handicraft and a developing tourism sector.

The island was named after the Portuguese explorer D. Diego Rodrigues in February 1528

During the 18th century several attempts were made by the French to develop the island. African slaves (ancestors of the present population) were brought to Rodrigues to develop stockbreeding and farming.

In 1809, after a brief battle with the French, British troops took possession of Rodrigues. And with British occupation, slavery was abolished.

GEOGRAPHY

Rodrigues is a volcanic island rising from a ridge along the edge of the Mascarene Plateau. The tectonically active Rodrigues Triple Point lies on the seafloor nearby. Rodrigues is only 1.5 million years old, even if the plateau under the lagoon surrounding Rodrigues may be much more ancient than the island. Over time Rodrigues has developed a unique environment, including many endemic species.

Rodrigues is about 18 km long and 8km wide with an area of 108 km2 (42 sq mi) The shape is that of a whale back with a central ridge and deep cut valleys. The island is hilly with a central spine culminating in the highest peak, Mountain Limon at 398 m (1,306 ft). Rodrigues is the only Mascarene island with extensive limestone deposits and caves. A large fringing reef surrounds the island forming a lagoon within which lie eighteen small islets.

The coral reef of Rodrigues is of particular interest as it is self-seeding – it receives no coral zooplankton from elsewhere. This has led to an overall species-poor but highly adapted ecosystem. A species of coral, two species of Pomacentrus damselfish and many species of crustaceans are only found on Rodrigues' reefs.

Climate

The isolation and location of the island give a micro climate specific to Rodrigues, with two seasons. Rodrigues enjoys a mild tropical maritime climate with persistent trade winds blowing throughout the year. Mean summer temperature is 25.9 °C (78.6 °F) and mean winter temperature is around 22.3 °C (72.1 °F). The temperature difference between summer and winter is 3.6 °C. January to March are the hottest months and August is the coolest month. The wettest month is February; September and October are the driest months. The climate is hotter and dryer than in Mauritius. Cyclones may arise from November to April, and Rodrigues is more often hit than Mauritius.

Demographics

The population estimate (as of 24 December 2012) for the island of Rodrigues was 39,242. The main religion is Roman Catholicism with small minorities of other religions like Jehovah's Witnesses, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. Most of the inhabitants are of mixed African and French descent and there is a minority of mixed-raced peoples; descendants of the first European settlers.

The main language is Rodriguan Creole, but English and French are used as the language of government administration, the courts and business. Rodriguan Creole is very similar to Mauritian Creole, though some words are pronounced differently.

Demographics

The population estimate (as of 24 December 2012) for the island of Rodrigues was 39,242. The main religion is Roman Catholicism with small minorities of other religions like Jehovah's Witnesses, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. Most of the inhabitants are of mixed African and French descent and there is a minority of mixed-raced peoples; descendants of the first European settlers.

The main language is Rodriguan Creole, but English and French are used as the language of government administration, the courts and business. Rodriguan Creole is very similar to Mauritian Creole, though some words are pronounced differently.

Education

The education system in Rodrigues is similar to education in Mauritius system. The government provides free education to students up to the tertiary level.

Economy

The economy of Rodrigues is mostly dependent upon Mauritius. The main sources of income and economic activity are tourism, fishing, cultivation of vegetables (especially of onions, garlic and chili), and animal rearing. The handicraft industry has proven to be beneficial to the economy of the island. However, the income derived from the export of sea products, cattle, and food crops is smaller than the costs of imported products, creating a deficit.

Culture

I.                  Music and folklore

The traditional music of the island is known as Sega Tambour. The music has an accentuated beat, usually accompanied by an accordion, clapping and the use of improvised percussion instruments like bamboo. The folk dance music is similar to polkas, quadrilles, waltzes and Scottish reels.

II.               Cuisine

Rodrigues cuisine consists of dishes from local products: fruit, vegetables, seafood (fish, octopus, crab, shrimp, lobster) and meat. National dishes include sausages with kreolinės, rougaille sauce, octopus with curry,  and Rodrigues cake.