A chronology of key events:
10th century - Phoenicians, Malays, Swahili and Arab seamen visit island but do not settle.
1510 - Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas visits the island and names it Cirné. It is used as a port of call, but the Portuguese do not establish a permanent settlement.
1598 - Dutch claim the uninhabited island and rename it after their head of state, Maurice, Prince of Orange and Count of Nassau.
1664-1710 - Dutch withdraw after repeated attempts at colonisation. By this time the dodo - a unique bird found only on Mauritius - has become extinct.
1715 - French East India Company claims Mauritius for France.
1796 - Settlers break away from French control when the government in Paris attempts to abolish slavery.
1810 - British forces land in Mauritius after defeating the French in battle at Cap Malheureux.
1814 - Mauritius, Seychelles and Rodrigues ceded to Britain under Treaty of Paris.
1834 - British abolish slavery.
1835 - Indentured labour system introduced. In subsequent decades hundreds of thousands of workers arrive from India.
1926 - First Indo-Mauritians elected to government council.
1942 - Donald Mackenzie-Kennedy becomes governor. Introduces consultative committee, which for the first time includes representatives from all Mauritian communities.
1957 - Internal self-government introduced, with an electoral system based on the Westminster model.
1959 - First elections under universal adult suffrage won by Labour Party of Seewoosagur Ramgoolam.
1960 - Cyclone Carol devastates island, leaving thousands homeless and prompting a housing revolution.
1966 - Britain expels some 2,000 residents of the Chagos archipelago, many to Mauritius, and leases islands to the US for 50 years. US builds a military base on the largest island, Diego Garcia.
1968 - 12 March - Independence.
1969 - Opposition Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM) founded, advocates socialism, led by Paul Berenger.
1971 - First Export Processing Zone created. Textiles sector develops. Between 1971-77, 64,000 jobs are created.
1971 - MMM, backed by unions, calls a series of strikes. State of emergency declared, lasts until 1976. MMM party's leadership imprisoned.
1982 - Sir Anerood Jugnauth becomes prime minister.
1992 March - Prime Minister Jugnauth declares Mauritius a republic.
1995 December - Labour Party leader Navin Ramgoolam becomes prime minister.
1999 February - Creole singer Kaya dies in police custody, prompting four days of rioting among Creole community.
2000 - September - Militant Socialist Movement leader Sir Anerood Jugnauth returns as prime minister.
2002 February - Cassam Uteem resigns as president, refusing to sign controversial anti-terrorism bill. Vice president also refuses to sign and resigns. Head of legislature becomes acting president and passes legislation into law.
2002 - "Cyber Cities" plan launched to create concentrations of hi-tech facilities and boost economy.
2005 July - Labour Party returns to power under Navin Ramgoolam.
2008 - British House of Lords upholds government appeal against 2000 High Court court ruling that families expelled from the Chagos Islands are entitled to return home.
2010 June - Mauritius, France agree to jointly manage Tromelin, a tiny Indian Ocean island owned by France but claimed by Mauritius.
2012 December - European Court of Human Rights rejects claim by Chagos Islanders against Britain over their expulsion.
2014 December - Opposition alliance led by ex-President Anerood Jugnauth wins a landslide victory in parliamentary elections.
2018 March - President Ameenah Gurib steps down over an expenses scandal.
2019 February - The UN International Court of Justice says Britain should end its control over the Chagos Islands as soon as possible, in a non-binding legal opinion that they were not lawfully separated from Mauritius in 1965.
2019 November - Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, who succeeded his father Sir Anerood Jugnauth, as prime minister in January 2017, wins the general election for the centre-left Militant Socialist Movement.