Wednesday, 30 April 2014

British Pathé - Port Louis footage (1970-1979)

British Pathé unissued / unused material of Port Louis, Mauritius. Various views of small boats coming in and the area around the Harbour. Traffic scenes. VS of memorial statue to Queen Victoria. CU Mauritian flag. Various shots of people walking in the streets of Port Louis, Capital town of Mauritius. Shots of boats in the harbour. Various shots of people walking in the streets and around the markets. Lots of food stalls. (16 mm E/C neg). FILM ID:3290.08

Port Louis has been in use as a harbour since 1638 starting with the Portuguese & Dutch. In 1735, under French governance, it became the administrative center of Mauritius and a major re-provisioning halt for French ships during their passage between Asia and Europe around the Cape of Good Hope. The port is named in honor of King Louis XV whose great grandfather was Louis XIV, the 'Sun King', and whose grandson Louis XVI was executed by guillotine in 1793 during the French Revolution.

During the period of French colonisation, Mauritius was known as Île de France. The French governor at the start of the french colony was Bertrand-François Mahé de Labourdonnais who contributed to the development of the city as it is today. Since it was relatively well-protected from strong winds during cyclones by the Moka mountain range, Port Louis was selected to house both the main harbour and fort for the island.
The importance of the port continued after the British colonisation of the island during the Napoleonic Wars (1800–15), and helped Britain control the Indian Ocean. However, port calls of ships fell drastically following the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 though activity in the port did increase during the 7-year closure of the Suez Canal starting in 1967.

Modernization of the port in the late 1970s helped maintain its role as the central point for all imports and exports from Mauritius and Port Louis continues to be the business and administrative capital of Mauritius. Expansion of the tourism industry in the late 1990s led to considerable development in the harbour area with the creation of the Caudan Waterfront.
The waterfront was named after Jean Dominique Michel de Caudan, who came to Mauritius from Languedoc in the south of France and started a saltpan in 1726, close to a small bay in the southwest of Port-Louis. This area, now known as the Robert Edward Hart Garden, is situated on the entrance road to Le Caudan Waterfront.

A historical site, the peninsula called Le Caudan was created around a fossil coral islet, hosting a powder magazine, an astronomic and meteorological observatory, quays, warehouses and various small enterprises primarily serving the sugar industry for about 250 years until the creation of the Bulk Sugar Terminal in 1980.
It started being re-developed in the late 1990's and now has shops, restaurants, banking facilities, a casino, a multiplex cinema, the marina, the Blue Penny museum and the five-star Le Labourdonnais hotel. The first meteorological observatory building of the Indian Ocean at Port Louis harbour now hosts the Caudan food court and restaurants. The Blue Penny Museum is in the former Docks office and has the famous million-dollar ultra rare stamps from 1847, the two-penny Blue Mauritius & one-penny Red.
Note: All images from Wikimedia Commons 

For a suggested walking route through Port Louis starting at the Caudan waterfront, please refer to the earlier blog-post -