The various population movements of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries have made of Mauritius a unique blend of different races, cultures and religions. People of European, African, Indian and Chinese origins have created a multiracial society where the various cultures and traditions flourish in peace and harmony.
The population started to grow under French rule in the 18th century. In 1735, the population had grown to almost 1,000 and reached nearly 20,000 in 1767 (15,000 of them slaves). When the British abolished slavery in 1835, the population stood at 100,000. It increased rapidly with the coming of Indian labourers. Between 1835 and 1865, some 200,000 labourers were brought in. By the turn of the century, the population grew to 371,000 and in 1944, it stood at 419,000. After the Second World War, the increase was more rapid, particularly because of the baby-boom and the drop in the infantile mortality rate.
The rate of natural increase which was about 3 per cent in the 60's has considerably dropped with family planning campaigns and greater awareness due to better education. The population of the Republic of Mauritius was estimated at 1,291,456 as at July 2012, growing at a rate of 0.4% since end 2010.