In 1622, Danish adventurers arrived, hoping to exploit the ebony with which the island abounded. The French and British, too, began to see possibilities both for trade and strategy
in the Mascarenes and sent out expeditions in 1638. Their ships arrived too late. In May 1638, Cornelius Simonsz Gooyer had set up the first permanent Dutch settlement in Mauritius. He was sent by the Netherlands
East India Company and became the first governor, over a population of 25 colonists who planned to exploit the island's resources of fine ebony and ambergris, rearing cattle and growing tobacco.
Over the next few years, a hundred slaves were imported from Madagascar and convicts sent over from Batavia (Java). The convicts were employed in cutting ebony. The free colonists
came from Baltic and North Sea Ports. They were hardened men who were settlers out of desperation and coercion rather than through brave ideals. Attempts at colonisation failed because there were not enough
settlers. By 1652, many left for the Cape of Good Hope which offered better prospects. Other attempts at colonisation failed miserably through cyclones, flood, drought and plague. Food shortages, an overall
inefficient administration and attacks by pirate ships compounded their desire to leave and in 1710 the last settlers abandoned Mauritius leaving a batch of runaway slaves bent on vengeance for their ill treatment