The island was known to Swahili, Arab, and Malay sailors as early as the 10th century  and was originally named Dina Harobi by the Arabs. The Portuguese sailors first visited it in 1507 and established a visiting base leaving the island uninhabited. Five ships of the Dutch Second Fleet were blown off course during a cyclone while on their way to the Spice Islands and landed on the island in 1598, naming it in honor of Prince Maurice of Nassau, the Stadtholder of the Netherlands.
In 1638, the Dutch established the first permanent settlement. Because of tough climatic conditions including cyclones and the deterioration of the settlement, the Dutch abandoned the island after nearly a century in 1710. France, which already controlled the neighboring Île Bourbon (now Réunion) took control of Mauritius in 1715 and later renamed it Île de France (Isle of France). Under French rule, the island developed a prosperous economy based on sugar production.
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