The capital of the Mauritius on the island of the same name, Port-Louis is the main port and commercial centre of the islands.
Port-Louis was founded by the French Governor Bertrand Mahé de Labourdonnais in 1735 as the colonial capital of Mauritius (then called Ile de France). Under French control, it was an important stop for French merchant ships travelling from Asia by the Cape of Good Hope. During the Napoleonic War (1800–15) it was occupied by British forces fighting for control of the surrounding area. Port-Louis suffered from the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 as trade was diverted away from the area. It regained importance from 1967–75 when the canal was closed.
Port-Louis is the seat of all governmental bodies and the base for most businesses. The main produce is sugar which accounts for a large proportion of exports leaving the deepwater harbour. The University of Mauritius was founded in 1965. The port is linked to the rest of the island by road.
Places of Interest
Several British and French colonial buildings remain including the eighteenth century government house and the Municipal Theatre built in 1822. The latter is used for Hindu weddings as well as local performances. Built on a central hill in 1838, the fortified citadel of Fort Adelaide affords a view over the city. Port-Louis has one Anglican and one Catholic cathedral, an art gallery and a natural history museum. The Champs de Mar race course was originally the site of French military parades.