Mauritian - Settlements

There are three main kinds of settlements: towns, plantation villages, and autonomous villages. The main towns are located in an urbanized belt stretching from Port-Louis (Population 160,000) through Beau-Bassin/Rose Hill (92,000), Quatre-Bornes (60,000), and Vacoas-Phoenix (57,000) to Curepipe (60,000). The only town outside this belt is Mahébourg (30,000) on the southeastern coast, but several villages are now the size of small towns. Plantation villages, formerly camps, are located close to the cane fields and sugar factories. Usually owned by the sugar estates, they are largely inhabited by Indians. Many of the coastal autonomous villages are fishing villages inhabited largely by Creoles. The new industrial, often "rurban," settlements, which are found in the north, are ethnically very mixed. Since Mauritius is a cyclone-ridden island (major cyclones struck in 1960 and 1976), most of its dwellings are one- or two-story concrete structures. A few villages, particularly on the coast, consist of houses constructed of mud and brick. Wood is used rarely. Most houses have electricity and piped water.

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