Mauritius (French: Maurice), officially the Imperial Dominion of Mauritius (French: Domination Impériale de Maurice), is an island country of the British Empire in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent. The country includes the islands of Mauritius, Rodrigues, the islands of Agalega and the archipelagos of Saint Brandon and Chagos. The islands of Mauritius, Rodrigues and Réunion form part of the Mascarene Islands. The area of the country is 2,100 km2. Its capital is Port Louis.
The first Portuguese explorers found no indigenous people living on the island in 1507. The Dutch settled on the island in 1638 and abandoned it in 1710. Five years later, the island became a French colony and was renamed Isle de France. The British took control of Mauritius in 1810 during the Napoleonic Wars. The country remained under British rule until it became an equal member of the British Empire under the terms of the Empire Act in 1938.
The country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural; most Mauritians are multilingual, and English, French, Creole and Asian languages are used.
The island of Mauritius was the only home of the Dodo bird. The bird became extinct fewer than eighty years after its discovery.