April 2, 2013

0320 & 0584 MAURITIUS - Le Morne Cultural Landscape (UNESCO WHS)

Posted on 12.09.2012 and completed on 02.04.2013
Star and Key of the Indian Ocean, as says its official motto, Mauritius is an island off the southeast coast of the African continent, in the southwest Indian Ocean, about 870km east of Madagascar. It's part of the Mascarene Islands, along with Réunion, Rodrigues, Cargados Carajos shoals, plus the former islands of the Saya de Malha, Nazareth and Soudan banks. When the Arab sailors visited the island, during the Middle Ages, it was uninhabited, and so remained until the arrival of the Dutch, although meanwhile it has been accessed several times by Portuguese. In 1598 the Admiral Wybrand Van Warwyck named the island Mauritius, in honour of Prince Maurits van Nassau, but the first settlement was founded only in 1638, and abandoned in 1710. France, which already controlled neighbouring Île Bourbon (now Réunion), took control of Mauritius in 1715, keeping it until 1810, when the island entered under British administration. Mauritius has proclaimed independent (as a Commonwealth realm) in 1968, becoming a republic within the Commonwealth on 1992.

On the first postcard is Le Morne Brabant, a peninsula at the south-western tip of the island, inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 2008 under the name Le Morne Cultural Landscape, because "is an exceptional testimony to maroonage or resistance to slavery in terms of the mountain being used as a fortress to shelter escaped slaves, with physical and oral evidence to support that use". It has an basaltic monolith with a height of 556m, many caves and overhangs, being surrounded by a lagoon, which made it a perfect refuge for runaway slaves. On 1835, after the abolition of slavery, a police expedition traveled there to inform the slaves that they had been freed, but the purpose of the expedition was misunderstood and the slaves leapt to their deaths from the rock. Since then the date is celebrated by Mauritian creoles as the Annual Commemoration of the Abolition of Slavery.

In the second postcard is Ile aux Bénitiers (in the left), a flat island, with coconut and casuarina trees, which stretches over two kilometers (about 500m wide) near the southwest coast of Mauritius  in front of the small fishing port La Gaulette, in the lagoon of Le Morne. It's considered a haven of peace propitious to relaxation, picnic, and exploration of the clear waters. Not far from it is a giant coral (in the right, but also in the first postcard), which became the emblem of Ile aux Bénitiers and the whole lagoon.

This second postcard is nice, of course, but from my point of view its back is more interesting than the front, because it contains a beautiful handmade ​​illustration made by the pal who sent me the postcard, Tropical Samuel. Until now, nobody worked so much only to make me a joy with such a postcard. Thanks from the bottom of my heart, Samuel, you've made my day.

About the stamps

Both stamps are part of a series of four, designed by Nitish Peechen & Neshvin Ramsawmy and issued on June 30, 2011, to commemorate various Anniversaries and Events for the last year:

• Population Census (7MUR) - The stamp illustrates the census form of 19th century - it's on the first postcard
• Birth Centenary of Sir Moilin Jean Ah Chuen (1911-1991) (14MUR) - He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1980 in recognition of his contribution in the field of political and public services, and made Knight of St. Gregory by the Vatican in 1991 - it's on the first postcard
• 125th Birth Anniversary of Dr. Maurice Curé (1886-1977) (21MUR) - He founded in 1936 the Labour Party, one of the three main Mauritian political parties, and fought constantly for reforms in favour of the workers.
• Centennial of the Médine Sugar Estates (25MUR) - It was a sugar producing company, but in the middle of the last century it diversified its activities in livestock, cattle, stag rearing, vegetable cultivation, farming, leisure and property development.
Mauritius - Wikipedia
History of Mauritius - Run Web
Le Morne Brabant - Wikipedia
Le Morne Cultural Landscape - UNESCO official website
Anniversaries and Events 2011 stamps series - Mauritian Philatelic Blog

sender 1, 2: Samuel Banbosse (direct swap)
sent from Mauritius, on 08.08.2012
sent from Mauritius, on 13.03.2013


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