Mauritius, officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about 900 kilometres (560 mi) east of Madagascar. In addition to the island of Mauritius, the Republic includes the islands of Cargados Carajos, Rodrigues and the Agalega Islands. Mauritius Island is part of the Mascarene Islands, with the French island of La RĂ©union 200 km (120 mi) to the southwest and the island of Rodrigues 570 km (350 mi) to the northeast.

The main languages spoken in Mauritius are Mauritian Creole, French and English. English is the only official language but the lingua franca is Mauritian Creole and the newspapers and television programmes are usually in French. Rodriguan Creole is a minority language and is spoken in certain parts of the country only. The country is composed of several ethnicities, including Asian, African, Chinese and French.

Mauritius Island is renowned for having been the only known home of the dodo. This bird was an easy prey to settlers due to its weight and inability to fly, and became extinct less than eighty years after the initial European colonization.

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