A nation of ca. 90 islands (ca. 30 inhabited) in the Indian Ocean, ca. 1,000 mi. E of Kenya, ca. 700 mi. NE of Madagascar, and just S of the Equator; area: ca. 171 sq. mi. Uninhabited till settled by French ca. 1768 for spice plantations; Eng. control asserted 1794, 1806, and 1810; ruled as a dependency as part of Mauritius from 1814; separate colony 1903; indep. mem. Commonwealth of Nations and mem. UN 1976. Ethnic groups: Creole (mixed Fr. and black descent) ca. 94%; other Europeans and Asians; some Indians and Chinese. Official languages: Eng. and French. Religion: ca. 90% RC; ca. 8% Angl.; others include Seventh-day Adv., Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Parsis, and pagans; some follow witchcraft and voodoo. RCm introd. in the 18th c.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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