Rodriguez

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Rodriguez

or

Rodrigues

(rōdrē`gəs), island (1996 est. pop. 34,883), 42 sq mi (109 sq km), in the Indian Ocean, c.350 mi (560 km) E of MauritiusMauritius
, officially Republic of Mauritius, republic (2015 est. pop. 1,259,000), 790 sq mi (2,046 sq km), in the SW Indian Ocean. It is part of the Mascarene Islands, c.500 mi (800 km) E of Madagascar.
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, of which it is a dependency. One of the Mascarene IslandsMascarene Islands
, in the Indian Ocean, E of Madagascar. They include Mauritius, Réunion, and Rodriguez. Apparently known to the Arabs, they were rediscovered by the Portuguese at the beginning of the 16th cent. The islands are named for Pedro Mascarenhas, who visited them c.1512.
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, it is surrounded by coral reef. Port Mathurin is the chief town. Most of the inhabitants are of African descent; some persons are of European, Indian, and Chinese descent. The population is largely French speaking and Roman Catholic. The main occupations are subsistence farming and fishing. Rodriguez was discovered in 1645 by the Portuguese, was briefly occupied (1691–93) by the Dutch, and was colonized (18th cent.) by the French from Mauritius. Britain took the island in 1810 and administered it as part of Mauritius, which became independent in 1968.