Rodrigues, (Rodriguan Creole: Zil Rodrigues) named after the Portuguese explorer Diogo Rodrigues, is the smallest of the Mascarene Islands and a dependency of Mauritius. With a peak elevation of approximately 355 meters, it is located 560 km east of Mauritius island, in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It is 109 km² in size, and surrounded by a coral reef. The capital of the island is Port Mathurin.
As of 2006, the island's population was about 40,000. The main language is Rodriguan Creole, while French and English are spoken or understood by some of the inhabitants. The main religion is Roman Catholicism with a small minorities of other religions. Most of the inhabitants are of mixed African and French descent. The main industries are handicraft, farming, fishing and tourism.
From the 10th century, Arabs have been known to visit the Mascarene Islands. A 12th century map by the Arab geographer Ash-Sharif al-Idrisi, clearly shows the three islands of the Mascarenes as Dina Arobi (Mauritius), Dina Margabin (Réunion) and Dina Moraze (Rodrigues). The island was named after the Portuguese navigator Dom Diogo Rodrigues in 1528.
From 1601, the Dutch began visiting the island, for fresh supplies of food. In 1691 the Huguenot, François Leguat and 7 companions landed on the island, intending to set up a farming colony of Protestant refugees. Farming was not successful, but there was an abundance of tortoises, turtles, birds, fish and other seafood.
During the 18th century several attempts were made by the French to develop the island. African slaves (ancestors of the present population) were brought to Rodrigues to develop stockbreeding and farming.
In 1809, after a brief battle with the French, British troops took possession of Rodrigues. And with British occupation, slavery was abolished.
In 1883, the eruption of the Indonesian volcano Krakatoa was heard at Mauritius, described as "the roar of heavy guns". Naval gunmen were quickly ordered to their posts. Having been heard from approximately 3000 miles (5000 km.) away on the other side of the Indian Ocean, the noise was the loudest sound in recorded history.
In 1968, Rodrigues was forcefully joined with Mauritius when it attained independence; today it is an autonomous region of Mauritius which aspires to full sovereignty.
In 2002, the island was made the seat of the Roman Catholic Vicariate Apostolic of Rodrigues.
Bathymetric environment of the island
Rodrigues is a volcanic island rising from a ridge along the edge of the Mascarene Plateau. The tectonically-active Rodrigues Triple Point lies on the seafloor nearby. Estimated to be from 1-4 million years old, over time Rodrigues has developed a unique environment, including many endemic species: 42 species of trees; the Rodrigues Fruit Bat; two species of bird, the Rodrigues fody and the Rodrigues warbler; and on the reef a species of coral, two species of damselfish and many new species of crustaceans. Other endemic animals such as Rodrigues giant tortoises and Rodrigues Solitaires are now extinct.
The coral reef of Rodrigues is of particular interest as it is self-seeding - it receives no coral zooplankton from elsewhere. This has led to the development of the endemic coral and a small number of species being present.
The coffee plant café marron, was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1979.
Eastern slopes of Rodrigues island seen from the summit of Grande Montagne
The almost uninhabited part of (Rodrigues island)
The Saint-Gabriel cathedral of Rodrigues
The capital of Rodrigues , Port-Mathurin
Notes and references
- ^ "Convention on Biological Diversity - Third National Report for the Republic of Mauritius, Section 5.2.1, p. 26" (DOC). Ministry of Environment and National Development Unit in collaboration with the UNEP/GEF. October 2006. http://www.biodiv.org/doc/world/mu/mu-nr-03-en.doc. Retrieved on 2007-01-19.
- ^ Kew: Plants: Island plants: Cafe Marron
- ^ NPR: The Little Coffee Plant that Wouldn't Die
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Rodrigues
- Rodrigues Regional Assembly
- Weather in Rodrigues
- Rodrigues Political History
- Rodrigues Self-determination
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Districts and dependencies of Mauritius
Black River · Flacq · Grand Port · Moka · Pamplemousses · Plaines Wilhems · Port Louis · Rivière du Rempart · Savanne
Agalega Islands · Cargados Carajos Shoals · Rodrigues
Coordinates: 19°43"?S 63°25"?E? / ?19.717°S 63.417°E? / -19.717; 63.417