Mauritiusโ€™ history is a chequered yet fascinating one and itโ€™s filled with juxtaposing things; of slavery and freedom, of inequality and tolerance and of hardship and beauty. As already mentioned, many people may not realise that this wonderful natural site actually played an unbelievably significant role in Mauritiusโ€™ history.
After a long period of time, slavery was finally abolished under British rule in ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿด๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฑ but before this happened, ๐—Ÿ๐—ฒ ๐— ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐—•๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜ was used as a refuge and shelter for escaped slaves in the ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿด๐˜๐—ต ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—น๐˜† ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿต๐˜๐—ต ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐˜†. These runaway slavesโ€”of which over time there were quite a fewโ€”were given the name โ€˜๐— ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€โ€™. Le Morne provided them with a good hiding place; it had unbelievably steep cliffs which were difficult to traverse (especially unseen), it was an isolated mountain and it was largely wooded which provided the slaves at Le Morne with a good barrier to the outside world and a sense of protection. Here, they arranged themselves in little settlements on the summit (which spans approximately 12 hectares) and in the caves found along the sides of the mountain.
Many of the ๐— ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€ stayed here for some time until slavery was abolished (and indentured labourers were introduced, mainly from India) on the ๐Ÿญ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—™๐—ฒ๐—ฏ๐—ฟ๐˜‚๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜† ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿด๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฑโ€”when the slaves would be freed but instead, tragedy struck. On the day slavery was abolished members of the army started to climb ๐—Ÿ๐—ฒ ๐— ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐—•๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜ with the intention of telling the slaves that they were free.
Unfortunately, due to a massive mistrust of the authorities (technically their captors), the slaves immediately thought the army had been sent to recapture them and chose to jump to their deaths instead of risk recaptureโ€”๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐˜† ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ต ๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐˜€๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜†. A tragic and unfortunate event that could so easily have been avoided.
Nu lidentiter, Dan liniter – Our Identity is in our Unity!