One of the oldest archives in the southern
hemisphere, the National Archives of Mauritius is a public body operating under
the aegis of the Ministry of Arts and Cultural Heritage. Although it originated during
the French period, its functioning as an official institution, was proclaimed
in 1815, during the British administration.
The Archives is the main
repository of national documents of Mauritius. As the official custodian of the
documentary heritage, it houses the collective memory of the country's history.
The national collection consists of approximately 300,000 volumes which include
- Documents from the old French administration dating since 1721;
- Documents of the British administration dating since 1810;
- Notarial Deeds as from 1724;
- Copies of maps and plans;
- Postage stamps, bank notes and coins;
- Lithographs, portraits, photographs;
- The civil status registers of 1721-1810, census reports;
- Minutes of proceedings of municipalities and District Councils;
- Seals and private papers;
- Reference Library materials.
These invaluable records are used by the public for various purposes such as historical, genealogical, cultural, administrative and legal, amongst others. They are consulted by various groups at both local and international levels. The users include students, genealogists, individual family members, historians, economists, scientists, social researchers, journalists, notaries, tourists, cultural organizations, government officials and other professionals.
Being a Government Department, the National Archives has served as the nation’s repository of public records for many years. It preserves the national archival heritage for both current and future use. Moreover, it ensures that an efficient and economical management of the records of the Government of Mauritius throughout their life-cycle is properly carried out.
As a direct witness of human activity, archives are crucial in the history of the Republic of Mauritius as they play a key role in the study of our past. It is therefore essential to safeguard this documentary heritage for the benefit of the future generations.