Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) off the south-east coast of Africa and 800 kilometres (500 miles) east of Madagascar.
The capital Port Louis lies on the main island of Mauritius. It's volcanic in origin and is almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs.
The country's population is of African, Indian, Chinese and French descent. Most Mauritians speak two, three or even more languages. As you may expect in a multicultural country, children learn a wide range of languages at school.
The island of Mauritius was the only home of the dodo. This bird became extinct fewer than 80 years after it was discovered in 1598. It was about one metre tall and may have weighed up to 18 kg (40 lb). It has been depicted with brownish-grey plumage, yellow feet, a tuft of tail feathers, a grey, naked head, and a black, yellow and green beak.
You’ll find a diverse wildlife on Mauritius. There are some 600 indigenous species of plants and trees. The island’s fauna includes the samber (a long-tailed, dark brown deer), tenrec (a spiny insectivore) and mongoose (a mammal).
Traditionally, Mauritius exported sugar. Nowadays, tourism is important. Mauritius received the World Leading Island Destination award for the third time and World's Best Beach at the World Travel Awards in 2012.
Mauritius became a member of the Commonwealth in 1968.
It made its debut, as a British Protectorate, in the Commonwealth Games in 1958. The Kuala Lumpur 1998 Commonwealth Games brought the country's first medals, all in Boxing. Medal success followed at Melbourne 2006 with three Silvers, two in Boxing and one on the running track. At the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games, Mauritius won a further two Bronze medals in the boxing ring.