Along with the French Overseas Department, the Reunion, the Republic of Mauritius is part of the Mascarene Islands lying in the Indian Ocean. The island country is about 2,000 kilometers from the southeast coast of Africa, in the east of Madagascar. Because of its geographical location and hundreds of years of colonialism, Mauritius is home to a number of various ethnic groups with diverse cultures, faith, and language. The island nation is also a host to various fauna and flora.
Since the country gained its freedom from the British in 1968, Mauritius has improved its economy from agriculture-based to a state that’s based on textiles, sugar, tourism, and financial services. The country’s economic breakthrough has been dubbed as “The Mauritian Miracle” and the “Success of Africa”.
The first banknotes of Mauritius were released starting in 1860 and were the first notes ever printed by De La Rue. In 1877, the Mauritian rupee was introduced, replacing the sterling, Indian rupee, and the Mauritian dollar. The mono-faced notes feature the country’s emblem.
With the King George V issues, the designs from Waterlow & Sons were chosen by the government over Bradbury, Wilkinsons, and Company’s notes dated 1st October 1932. These notes depict an in-profile image of King George V on the right of the obverse.
After the death of King George V, a set of notes bearing a portrait of King George VI was issued. The family of notes was ordered in 1936, however, it was issued after several years. When King George VI died, the note’s designs were replaced by a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II who took over the throne on February 6, 1952.
When the Bank of Mauritius was established in September 1967, a new family of notes was introduced, featuring the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in a ceremonial dress of the Order of the Garter, by Pietro Annigoni. Following the country’s independence, undated paper bills were released in 1985, without Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait.
On its 1998 issues, the Mauritian rupee banknotes highlight renowned personalities in Mauritian history, representing the major ethnic communities in the country. The notes were reissued carrying enhanced security features such as holographic patches.