The Island of Mauritius is famous for 2 of the rarest stamps in the World,
the 1847 "Post Office" Penny Orange and Twopence Blue. This
site is dedicated to the first stamps of this Paradise on Earth, those
that were engraved and printed locally. Extensive work has gone into the
creation of this site and updates are frequent. The intention here is
to provide noteworthy data, not limited strictly to philately, but also
useful information about the Island, it's history, customs, culture and
Be sure to come back often as this is a work in progress! I would be grateful
if you could find time to send me an email and leave any comments or suggestions
that might assist me or other visitors to this site.
Peter M.C. Werner, webmaster
Mauritius is shown the first time on the Map of the
Indian Ocean, ca 1519, by the Portuguese Cartographer
Jorge Reinel (1502-after 1572).
This map is part of the Lopo
Homen Atlas (Also called Miller Atlas). With the onset of voyages
on the open sea, coastal navigation techniques were no longer practical.
It became necessary to study the stars at night and the Sun during the
day to calculate the information necessary for efficient navigation.
It was thus that oceanic or astronomical navigation began, and with
it came a new type of nautical map which contained information on navigational
aspects. It included information on latitudes of key coastal areas,
on harbours, bays and capes, distances, landmarks and angles of the
sun. It also described the wind and sea currents and recommended appropriate
anchorage spots. In contrast to the traditional maps, the new ones did
not chart entire coasts but merely the areas which had been navigated.
They often included recommendations for the best sailing times or an
alternative route considering the different winds and sea currents throughout
the year. The french National Library is home to a collection of maps
known as the Miller Atlas. Despite the misleading name, the maps are
actually of Portuguese origin and attributed to Lopo Homen, the King’s
official cartographer in the first decades of the XVI century (1519).
Some scholars believe that Arab traders did reach the island in the
Middle Ages, since a map drawn by Arab geographer Al Sharif El-Edrissi
in 1153 appears to show Mauritius.
"Carte Particuliere de l'Isle de France",
by the important French engineer and cartographer Rigobert
Bonne (1727-1795), who succeeded J.N.Bellin as Hydrographer at the
Depot de la Marine (1773). A very detailed map of Mauritius with it's
18th century name Isle de France with key place names and much topographical
The map is part of the "Atlas de Toutes Les Parties Connues de
Globe Terrestre" that accompanied G. T. F. Raynal’s ten volume,
L’histoire philosophique…(Paris and Geneva, 1780).
This map is also Plate 88 of Bonne's "Atlas Encyclopédique"
(2 volumes, 1787-88)
The oldest printed map of Mauritius by Theodore De Bry, . Delineatio
Insvlae do Cerne, Alias Mavritivs Dictae (Frankfurt, 1601).
This map, from De Bry’s, Petits Voyages, Part 4, is the first printed
map of Mauritius, published just three years after the Dutch landing
in 1598 at the south-east harbor of Grand Port. As E Keble Chatterton (1) points
out, the map, with clarity and skill, does
two quite distinct things — it records an achievement (eleven ships
are shown in the harbor) and it presents sailing directions for those
seeking an appropriate anchorage.
The landmarks include palm trees and mountains, a freshwater stream,
islets where tortoises can be found, and a secret position where articles
were left for later venturers.
Click here or on the map for more information
and to view a bigger image
(1) E. Keble Chatterton
Old Ship Prints
1927 London, John Lane at Bodley Head
1955 reprint London, Spring Books