National Geographic : 1956 Jan
About two out of every three Mauritians today, Harry told me, are of Indian blood. Their ancestors were indentured field hands, brought from India by the sugar planters when slavery was abolished in the 1830's. Some 11,000 islanders are of straight Euro pean descent. About 1,000 of these are Brit ish, the rest of French ancestry. Governor's Mansion Built in 1749 From Port Louis we drove to Le Reduit, the Governor's residence in the Moka high lands. Set on a high wedge of land between deep ravines, the rambling house stands in a park of trees, flower beds, and ponds. Be yond a sloping lawn and a narrow river the view reaches for miles toward the sea. Inside, long galleries, high-ceilinged draw- ing rooms, and rich furnishings bespeak a glittering past. Gov. Sir Hilary Blood was in London on leave. I was introduced to his deputy, James D. Harford, who later became Governor of St. Helena.* "Gov. Barthelemy David, who succeeded Labourdonnais, built this official mansion in 1749," Mr. Harford explained when he no ticed me looking about in awe. "To justify spending so much money, he reported to Paris that, should invasion come, a haven would be needed for the ladies!" As we drove on through the rolling high lands from Le Reduit toward the village of Phoenix and the Residential Club, I noticed * See "St. Helena: the Forgotten Island," by Quen tin Keynes, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, August, 1950.