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Mauritius is a melting pot embracing a diversity of cultures, something on which it's people pride themselves. The largest cultural group is made up of people with Indian roots, and broadly speaking, comprises Hindus originating from northern India (the largest ethnic grouping), Tamils from southern India, and Muslims from western India (who form the smallest part of the group). While the Indians arrived after the ending of slavery in 1835 to work on the sugar plantations, the Creoles owe part of their ancestry to the first slaves who were imported from Madagascar and possibly the east coast of Africa. The arrival of the Chinese, mostly from Canton, dates from after 1826. Most Europeans are of French descent and stem from the settlers who arrived during the colonizaiton of the island by France. Franco-Mauritians have remained prominent in the sugar industry and are still the largest landowners.

Some have successfully invested dividends from this agricultural capital in the industrial sector, while for others, their fortunes are on the decline as a result of their dwindling numbers and thus their fading influence. Middle-class indo-Mauritians work most in the civil service, though today the best trained among them are employed in the private sector. The community of Chinese origin is a very dynamic minority, with a high percentage of trained professionals. Owners of small retain shops 50 years ago, and the sino-Mauritians have taken a prominent place in the main sectors of economic life today.