During the 15th and 16th century, when the concept of colonisation developed among the European countries and the countries like Britain, France, Netherlands, Portugal etc. conducted voyages to discover new lands, the route to the eastern world had Mauritius as an important way station. Portugal was the first European country to establish a base on the island but in the 1600s, Dutch annexed Mauritius. They brought along with them Dutch coins that used to circulate in the island at that time.
The French took over Mauritius in the year 1721 and as in the other colonies of France, French Colonial Livre that was abbreviated as XFCL started to be used in both coin and banknote form. Initially, the banknotes in French denomination were issued by CompagnieFrancaise des Indes, a private French company that controlled the island. The company handed over the control to the French government in 1764 and consequently, the government started issuing its own notes. From 1768, the banknotes started to get issued locally and also other popular foreign currencies such as Spanish silver dollars and Indian gold and silver coins were used prominently with the official unit of account.
In the early 19th century, Britain captured Mauritius and changed the official unit of account to Pound Sterling but Spanish dollars were still popular as a prime medium of exchange. In an attempt to popularise the British currency, many attempts were made including establishment of a currency board in 1849 but all these steps didnt work. In 1876, Indian rupee was made the official currency of Mauritius due to its popularity and the pound sterling banknotes were withdrawn from the circulation.
In 1934, Mauritian rupee finally replaced Indian rupee and formed a separate currency that was directly linked to pound sterling and note the Indian rupee. The responsibility of managing currency in the country was entitled to the Mauritius Currency Board from 1934 till 1967, when Bank of Mauritius came into existence and has been issuing the currency in Mauritius till present.
Mauritian rupee is among the only three rupee denominated currencies in the world, along with Sri Lankan rupee and Seychellois rupee, that use cent as their subunit, cent commonly being a subunit of dollar currencies. Bank of Mauritius, which was established in 1966, looks after the flow of currency in the country and performs the role of the central bank of Mauritius. The first currency notes and coins were issued in the year 1876-77 during the reign of United Kingdom.
Currently, the currency circulates in the country in total 13 face values, 7 in paper note form and the rest 6 in coin form. Coins are issued for the smaller denominations in the currency and include values 5, 20 and 50 cents, 1 rupee, 5 and 10 rupees. The coins that possess value in cents are hardly seen in circulation and just the three rupee denomination coins are used in the daily transactions. All the coins bear an engraved portrait image of SeewoosagurRamgoolam, also known as the Father of the Nation of Mauritius, on their obverse sides. The reverse sides of the coins have got symbolic images embossed on them.
Also, many other coins are issued commemorating different events and occasions, which are important in context of the nation. The paper currency is printed in the several denominations including 25, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 2000 rupees. The obverse sides of all the banknotes have portrait images of important people in relation to the history of Mauritius. The front sides of the notes are also featured with the picture of Bank of Mauritius building and statue of justice. The reverse sides of the currency notes show illustrations that depict various aspects of Mauritius along with the respective values of notes written in Indian language numerals including Hindi, Tamil and Gujrati. Mauritian currency notes differ in sizes and colours that help one to identify banknotes differently.
Mauritian rupee is the official unit of exchange in the Republic of Mauritius. Mauritius, although being an African country, use rupee that is popular among Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Indonesia and Maldives. As per the ISO 4217 regulation, the currency and the numeric code for Mauritian rupee are defined as MUR and 480 respectively. Like most of the other rupee denominated currencies, Mauritian rupee is depicted with symbols Rs. The subunit of Mauritian rupee is provided by cent and is counted among the only three rupee currencies to use cent as its sub divisional unit.
Mauritius is a country that is counted among the rapidly developing nations of the world. Though it gained its independence in 1968 but was recognised as a republic in as late as 1992. This is the reason for the slow rate of development in the country before 1992 but in the present scenario, Mauritius looks much promising. It has transformed into a middle-income diversified economy from its outlook in the past as a low-income agrarian economy when it got independent. The financial, industrial and tourist sectors of Mauritius look brighter than before and are the backbone of the countrys economy.
Mauritius along with Seychelles, are the only two African currencies that use rupee as their official currency unit as rupees background is very much related to Asian continent. Initially when the currency was launched in 1934, it held a direct peg to the British pound sterling but currently follows a free float exchange rate regime. As far as the import export restrictions in the island country are concerned, the local currency cannot be imported more than the amount 700 MUR and the export limit for the same is Rs 350 MUR. The foreign currency import do not have any restrictions provided the amount be declared and export of foreign currency can be done only till the amount imported.
The Mauritius economy is based on tourism, financial services, textiles, and sugar exports. They are currently diversifying to enhance productivity and competitiveness, as well as to support growth and job creation. The 2010 budget was focused on job creation and environmental and social development. For 2011, the main focus of the budget is on improving productivity, rebalancing economic growth, and consolidating social justice.
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