The island’s oldest settlement, the fishing village of VIEUX GRAND PORT, sited beneath the distinctive Lion Mountain, lies close to where the first Dutch ships landed in 1598. It looked a good place to position the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch wasted no time in attempting to establish a colony and exploiting the island’s thick ebony forests. Ultimately, the settlement failed and the Dutch sailed off to the Cape of Good Hope in 1710. The village itself is of little interest, but the seventeenth-century ruins of Dutch fortifications can be seen at Fort Frederik Hendrik Museum at the northern end of town, and a few kilometres south a monument in the coastal mangroves commemorates the site of the first landing.

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