The postal adventure

The visit of the museum continues into a room that offers a broad outline of the history of postal services in Mauritius.

The first recorded letters from Mauritius were those of the Dutch Moluccan fleet and date back to June 1601. They were found by Willem van West-Zanen, the Enkhuizen’s captain, when his vessel called at the island in June 1602.

In the remote days of first stopovers in this uninhabited country, it was usual for ships' captains to leave messages in sealed jugs, hung upside down, on trees in KuipersEyland (Tonneliers or Coopers Island), at the entrance to NoordWester Haven, present day Port Louis harbour.

In 1638, when the first Opperhoofd (Dutch governor), Cornelis Simonsz Gooyer, laid the foundations of the colony at Warwijck Haven, now Grand Port, mail was carried by the vessels of the United East India Company, the V.O.C. However, ships only stopped occasionally and mail service remained unpredictable up to 1712, when the Dutch withdrew from the colony.

Under French occupation, from 1721, mail conveyance still depended on the goodwill of captains, whose vessels berthed in Mauritius. This went on until 1774, when the first official postal maritime service was created by Pierre Nicolas Lambert, founder and Director of the Post Office in 1772.

But the problems of the Mauritius Post Office had only just begun, in spite of a better organisation, under the British, as from 1810.
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