In 1810, Robert Farquhar, aged 34 became the first English governor. He announced that civil and judicial administration would be unchanged. Those who refused to take an oath of
allegiance to the British Crown ere asked to leave Mauritius within a reasonable time. Under his governorship sugar production increased, Port Louis was transformed into a free port, roads were built and trade
flourished. He mixed with everyone and encouraged younger generation to open dialogue with coloured leaders.The British also preserved the island's laws, customs, language, religion and property. The treaty of Paris
did restore Bourbon/Reunion island in 1814 but the Ile de France, by now with its former name of Mauritius, was confirmed as a British possession.
Sugar production developed into a major foreign income earner and the planters relied increasingly on slave labour in spite of the 1807 Act abolishing it in the British Empire. Judge
Jeremie was appointed Attorney General in Mauritius and arrived from England in 1832 to announce abolition without indemnity to a hostile reception of sugar planters and slave owners.
Slavery was finally abolished in 1835 but not before the owners received £2,000,000 compensation from the British.
Shortly afterwards thousands of Indians from Madras, Calcutta and Bombay were encouraged to emigrate to Mauritius with promises of a labour contract that included a salary and
accommodation and a passage home. They arrived in dreadful conditions at Port Louis where they were housed in temporary depots and distributed to the sugar estates. They were paid very little, subjected to harsh
treatment and forced to work long hours. These indentured labourers or 'coolies', were slaves by another name and were to form the majority of the population.
Things improved only slightly when an Immigration Department was established in the mid-nineteenth century. In 1872, a Royal Commission was appointed to look into the problems of
Indian immigration. Their living standards became more tolerable and when immigration ceased in 1907 and another Royal Commission made recommendations for social political reform, many Indians had settled
permanently in Mauritius and indeed formed the majority of the population.
Also in 1907, Mohandas Gandhi (later Mahatma Gandhi) visited Mauritius and as a result sent Manillal Doctor, an Indian lawyer, to Port Louis in 1907 to organise the indentured
labourers who had no say in politics and no civil rights. Only 2 percent of the population were entitled to vote and the Indians were totally underrepresented.
In 1936, the Labour Party was formed and persuaded the Indians to take politician action and campaign for better working conditions.
The Second World War brought infrastructural development. The British based their fleet at Port Louis and Grand Port, as well as building an airport at Plaisance and a sea plane base
at Baie du Tombeau. A large telecommunication station was built at Vacoas, although the first underwater telephone cable, linking South Africa to Australia, had been laid to Mauritius in 1901.