Fascinating facts in history of Mauritius: Mathew Flinders

In 1803, Mathew Flinders, British explorer, famous cartographer, was on his way from Australia back to England when he was compelled to make a stop at Mauritius to have his ship repaired. It was during the Franco-British war, and the then French governor, General Decaen, convinced that Flinders was a spy at the service of Her Majesty the Queen, held him captive in Mauritius until 1810. He was first imprisoned for a period of 2 years at the Despeaux house, at Port-Louis, together with other British prisoners. Flinders was then transferred, on August 19, 1805, near Mare aux Vacoas to the estate called “Le Refuge” of the d’ Arifat family with whom he maintained a long friendship while under house arrest. From there, he went to explore the surroundings on foot and came across the ruins of Jean-François de Galaup, Comte de La Pérouse’s homestead, a famous French navigator, and explorer of the Indian and Pacific Oceans from 1772 to 1776. It was therefore Flinders who motivated the construction of the first memorial ever built in Mauritius, which was erected in honor of the Comte de La Pérouse.

Many years later, in 2003, Mathew Flinders will also be entitled to a memorial at Baie du Cap inaugurated by His Majesty Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.

Main source: Société de l’ histoire – Ile Maurice


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