Port Louis a beacon on the indies route

Discover the Port Louis of the 18th and 19th centuries.

During the centuries that followed the Portuguese discovery of the nautical route to Asia and its treasures, an island and a town became progressively of great importance in the history of the Indian Ocean: Mauritius and its capital, Port Louis.

At first, regarded only as a port of call for resting and restocking fresh supplies, the island, due to its convenient geographic situation, became an advanced post coveted by the Dutch, French and British to be used in their expeditions of discovery, conquest and trade on the route to India and China.

In 1731, Governor Nicolas de Maupin recommended to the East India Company that Port North-West (Port Louis) should become the main port. It was, however, his successor Mahé de La Bourdonnais who, during the eleven years he spent as governor of Mauritius, laid the foundation of Port Louis, established it as capital of the colony, and transformed the port into a hub from which to conquer the Indies.

After years of warfare, Port Louis, boosted by Britain, acquired a reputation as “the main warehouse on the route to India” and maintained its importance up to 1869, when a shorter maritime way was opened to Europe through the Suez Canal.