Abolition Of Slavery in Mauritius

Abolition of Slavery is a public holiday observed every February 1st in the island nation situated in the Indian Ocean known as Mauritius. In the 17th century, the Dutch East India Company established the first European settlement in Mauritius. On the island, ebony was felled, and tobacco and sugar cane plantations were built.

To work in these industries, the Dutch brought the first slaves to the island, and by the beginning of the 19th century, approximately 80% of the island’s population were slaves. Slavery would not be abolished until February of 1835—and this holiday commemorates that date.

Interesting Facts About Mauritius

To complement Abolition of Slavery Day in Mauritius, we thought we’d step back and talk about some of the interesting facts that we learned about this island during our research for this holiday.

  • Arab and Malay sailors were the first to discover this island back in the 10th century.
  • Mauritius isn’t just one island. Rodrigues and the outer islands of Cargados Carajos Shoals are claimed by Mauritius as well.
  • The Dodo bird was native to the island and is still the national bird of Mauritius.
  • It has two UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  • Mauritius has the highest population density in all of Africa.

Observing Abolition of Slavery in Mauritius

This holiday is not traditionally observed in Mauritius with a festival, as many other holidays are, but it is celebrated with people coming together and enjoying meals with one another. Common dishes consumed in Mauritius include Boulettes, Dhal Puri, and various curries.

Where is it celebrated?
Mauritius (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
February 1 Thursday
Next year (2025)
February 1 Saturday
Last year (2023)
February 1 Wednesday