Assemblée Generale de la Colonie. Séance du Vingt-Deux Février 1791 [caption title]
Isle de France: Chez F.N. Bolle, 1791. Folio. 24pp. Stitched as issued. Top corner of first leaf torn away, affecting several lines of text. Lightly dampstained and worn throughout. Still very good.
Early and unrecorded imprint from the colonial press at the French colony of Mauritius, also known as the Ile de France. Issued at a critical moment at the beginning of the French Revolution, the lengthy text concerns the government and judiciary of the island, together with a proclamation by the King dated August 24, 1790. The text nominally recognizes the authority of the King, while taking measures to establish major autonomy of local government. The Dutch were the first Europeans to become interested in the island, taking possession in 1598. After exploiting the island's dense forests for a century and introducing the cultivation of sugar cane and cotton, in 1710 the Dutch abandoned the colony. The French soon claimed it as "Ile de France," and the island remained under the control of the French East India Company until 1767. During the long war between France and England at the beginning of the 19th century, Mauritius proved to be an important strategic naval base, and as a result the British took charge of the island in 1810, and the Treaty of Paris confirmed official British possession in 1814. It remained an important sugar producing colony, and in the 20th century agricultural production was expanded to include tea, rice, and other produce. Printing began on Mauritius in 1768. During the French period, until 1810, only about 400 imprints were produced, mostly in the form of official documents and newspapers, though there are also almanacs and a few other items. All are quite rare. No copies located in OCLC, and not recorded by Toussaint in his bibliography of Mauritius imprints.