Design of the Flag of Mauritius
The Mauritius flag, popularly known as Four Bands, was officially adopted in March 12, 1968. It was designed by Gurudutt Moher, former primary school teacher who died at the age of 93 in 2017. The flag of Mauritius features four horizontal bands of different colors, listed from top to bottom: red, blue, yellow, and green. While many national flags feature three bands or stripes, the four bands of Mauritius's flag is relatively unique. The national flag has a height to length proportion of 2:3.
Each of the colors on the national flag of Mauritius has a specific meaning. The red color symbolizes the people’s struggle for independence. Since Mauritius is an island surrounded on all sides by the Indian Ocean, the blue color represents the ocean. The yellow color is symbolic of the new light of freedom achieved upon independence. The green color symbolizes the agriculture of Mauritius, as well as the nation’s natural wealth.
Other Flags Used in Mauritius
The civil ensign and state ensign used in Mauritius are similar in design. The former has a red field while the latter has a blue field. However, both feature the national flag of Mauritius on the canton. The country’s coat of arms is featured on the fly side.
History of Mauritius's Flag
Mauritius’s national flag is often referred to as the Les Quatre Bandes, which is French for "the four bands." However, various colonial flags were used prior to the country's independence. Dutch and the French colonial flags were used, as well as multiple different British flags. The British Union Jack was used between 1810 and 1869, and was then replaced by a colonial flag designed specifically for Mauritius. Several versions of this flag were used with slight alterations in design. After independence, a new flag was adopted to represent the nation. This flag was officially used for the first time on March 12, 1968, and was designed by a Mauritian primary school teacher named Gurudutt Moher.
The coat of arms of Mauritius consists of a Dodo Bird and Sambur Deer supporting sugar cane and a shield divided into four sections. The top left quarter is an azure with a lymphard while the top right quarter is yellow with three palm trees. The lower left quarter is yellow with a red key facing downwards, and the lower right is an azure with pile and mullet argent. The country's motto, "Stella clavisque maris indici," ( Star and key of the Indian Ocean) is displayed in Latin on a ribbon below.
Motherland, the national anthem of Mauritius, was adopted at independence on March 12, 1968. As the country prepared for independence, a competition was held to choose the new anthem to repless "God Bless the Queen." Lyrics by Jean Georges Prosper was chosen as the best entry and Motherland picked as the country's anthem. The lyrics were later set to music by Philippe Gentil. The music was composed in English and only has the French translation. An attempt to sing the anthem in Creole on Independence Day in 1983 was strongly opposed by rthe then ruling Mauritian Militant Movement alliance partners
Glory to thee, Motherland
O Motherland of mine.
Sweet is thy beauty,
Sweet is thy fragrance,
Around thee we gather
As one people,
As one nation,
In peace, justice and liberty.
May God bless thee
For ever and ever
The Mauritian rupee is the official currency of Mauritius, known in international money markets through the code MUR. The Rupee is made up of 100 subunits of cents. The currency is issued by the Bank of Mauritius in the form of coinage as well as banknotes. The Mauritian rupee was introduced in 1877 and replaced the Mauritian Dollar at half the value and was pegged on the Indian Rupee at par.
Coins and banknotes
The coins are minted in 20, 10, 5, 1, and 1/2 rupee denominations as well as the rarely used 20 and 5 cent denominations. Banknotes are issued in 2000, 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, and 25 Rupee denominations. The country has had other currencies used as official legal tender throughout its history including the Dutch Guilder, the French Colonial Livre, and the Mauritian Dollar.
The Dutch Guilder
Mauritius became a Dutch colony in 1638 and was used as a refreshing station of Dutch shipping while sailing to Asia. During this period, the Dutch guilder was used as the official currency in the island for the purpose of trade. The Dutch guilder was minted by the County of Holland in silver coins. One guilder was made up of 100 subunits of cents. However, the Dutch occupation on the island was brief, plagued by droughts, cyclones, and tropical diseases and the Dutch ended up abandoning Mauritius in 1710.
The French Colonial Livre
In 1715, Mauritius along with other surrounding islands, was placed under French colonial control and effectively became known as the Isle de France. During this period, France had grown to become the biggest maritime trading country in Europe with its global exports being valued at 25 million pounds. Therefore, the island Mauritius and its largest city, Port Louis became a major trading center in the Indian Ocean trade with slavery being a major economic activity in the island. The French colonial government issued livre to Isle de France to be used as the official currency for domestic and international trade in the colony. The French Colonial Livre was issued in banknotes, and it was made up of subunits known as sous where 20 sous were equivalent to 1 livre. The currency was circulated all over Mauritius until 1820 when it was replaced by the Mauritian dollar.
The Mauritian Dollar
Mauritius was placed under British Rule after the British captured the island on December 3rd, 1810 and officially became a British colony after the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1814 with the island being known as the Crown Colony of Mauritius. The Mauritian Dollar was introduced in the island in 1820 by the imperial government based in London as a replacement of the French Colonial Livre. The Mauritian Dollar was minted in coinage and was struck in a sixteenth, an eighth, a half, and a quarter dollar denominations on silver coins. The currency was also known as the anchor dollar due to the presence of an anchor on their faces. The government issued more Mauritian Dollars in the 1820s with the introduction of copper coins in 1822. The Mauritian Dollar was initially pegged onto the Indian Rupee but was later pegged onto the sterling shilling with one Mauritian Dollar being equivalent to four sterling shillings. The Mauritian Dollar was replaced by the Mauritian Rupee in 1877.