GIS – 08 March 2018: The President of the Republic of Mauritius, Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, launched a book entitled “Du Réduit à la State House” yesterday at the State House, Réduit in the presence of various eminent personalities.
In her address, the President highlighted that there has been a few publications on the State House in the past but that “Du Réduit à la State House” casts a different light on the subject by bringing in a scientific slant. Botany in the 18th and 19th century, she pointed out, was really a sophisticated science that kept the passions of intellectuals and monarchs very much alive.
Speaking about the history of Le Réduit, the President underlined that in 1746, the successor of Mahé de Labourdonnais, Pierre Felix Barthelmy David landed in Mauritius in the midst of Franco-British rivalries and was conscious of the dangers that the British represented. He thus decided to construct a building that could be used as refuge in the event of an invasion by the British. After the building’s completion in 1750, a famous botanist, Jean Baptiste Fusée Aublet, was hired to create a botanical garden. The latter was meant to be receiving spice plants from Pierre Poivre who was already in the Far East fighting both the British and the Dutch. The imported plants were acclimatised in Le Réduit area before being sent out to the other colonies and some of the trees are still found growing in the gardens of the State House, stated the President.
Dr Gurib-Fakim emphasised that there has since been a few additions to the garden, namely, the Medicinal garden, the Bamboo garden, the Gabriel d’Argent arboretum, the Cactus garden and the Arboretum for rare endemic plants of Rodrigues. She also recommended that one visits and discover the unique flora of the State House, be it physically or through the book, as the latter acknowledges the legacy of Le Réduit gardens to the amazing field of botany.
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