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International > The picture of the week > Ebony from Mauritius

Picture of the week (No.16): Ebony from Mauritius.                         Share

Each week (actually about 2 or 3 times a month), Willgoto selects here a nice picture. Mauritius ebony is the theme of the sixteenth picture of this series. Ebony is a precious wood, the primitive forests of which have been exploited excessively in Mauritius by the successive settlers.

Mauritius ebony

Mauritius ebony.

The country. Mauritius is a very nice tourist destination. It is particularly famous for its sandy beaches and water activities in a tropical climate.

However, Mauritius offers many other attractions, including several natural sites like Ile aux Aigrettes (in English: Egret Island, a nature reserve), Ile aux Cerfs (in English: Deer Island) with its beautiful lagoon, Pamplemousses Botanical Garden (the oldest botanical garden in the southern hemisphere), the Seven Colored Earths in Chamarel, Black River Gorges National Park (the first national park of the island) as well as some picturesque places like Cap Malheureux and Le Morne Brabant (a world heritage site for its historical value).

Before becoming an independent country, Mauritius was occupied successively by the Dutch, the French and the English. It keeps many traces of these eras. For their sugar cane plantations, settlers used slaves in large amounts and then, after the abolition of slavery, they employed Indian and Chinese workers. As a result of this past, Mauritius is now a quite remarkable multicultural and multireligious country.

Ebony is the wood that forms the heart of the trunk of a few tree species in the genus Diospyros which are found in tropical regions. It is a black, hard, and dense wood. When polished, it gets a smooth finish. This precious wood has been famous since antiquity. Ebony from Madagascar and Mauritius, often considered the most beautiful one, has been extensively exploited for the manufacture of furniture in colonial times. Subsequently, ebony was used rather to make small pieces such as religious objects, parts of musical instruments, chess pieces or small decorative sculptures.

Several ebony species are endemic to Mauritius and grew there in the primitive forests. However, they were exploited on a large scale by the settlers, in particular by the Dutch East India Company that sold ebony throughout Europe. When the Dutch left the island around 1710, ebony trees survived only in the hinterland where they could not cut down due to lack of roads. Clearing the primitive forest of Mauritius went on in the 18th and 19th centuries with the French and then the English settlers in order to make way for sugar cane plantations.

Ebony is today a rare wood. In Mauritius, ebony can still be found mainly in some nature reserves and at the Pamplemousses garden. It takes about 50 years for the ebony tree to reach its adult size (20-30 m depending on the species).

The Diospyros species have been included in the Red List of Endangered Species of IUCN. Out of 103 species of diospyros in the world, most are classified as vulnerable, 14 as endangered and 15 as critically endangered.

Ebony is also the name Mauritius has given to the Cybercity created in the vicinity of the capital, Port Louis. A few ebony trees have been planted in the Cybercity. In French, "bois d'ébène" (ebony wood) is also a euphemism that means black slaves.

You may also want to see these beautiful pictures from Mauritius:


Flic-en-Flac


Chamarel


Pamplemousses Garden


Firewalking


The author of the photos. All above photos belong to Willgoto. Here you will find all our pictures from Mauritius.

See also:
Picture of the week 1: Bee hummingbird, the smallest bird in the world. It is endemic to Cuba.
Picture of the week 2: Pagoda of the Golden Rock in Myanmar. It is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the world.
Picture of the week 3: Seychelles beach. Seychelles is a perfect destination for a dream holiday.
Picture of the week 4: Lemur of Madagascar (Coquerel's sifaka), an endangered species of primates, which, like all other species of lemurs, is endemic to Madagascar.
Picture of the week 5: World heritage in Cambodia. The temple of Banteay Srei, better known as 'Citadel of the women', in Cambodia is a jewel of Khmer art and a world heritage site.
Picture of the week 6: Bull shark and tiger shark. Both sharks are unfortunately known for fatal attacks on humans. However, experienced divers can approach them and swim with them.
Picture of the week 7: Firewalking in Mauritius. Walking barefoot over a bed of hot embers is an ancestral religious practice.
Picture of the week 8: The flower carpet of the Grand Place in Brussels. This carpet made up of about a million cut flowers is a tourist attraction that takes place every two years.
Picture of the week 9: Giant oceanic manta rays. Video and pictures. The giant oceanic manta ray is a particularly impressive ray that can be up to 7 meters wide and weigh up to two tons.
Picture of the week 10: Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean. Réunion is a dream destination particularly for all outdoor activities, such as hiking, canyoning, paragliding, and many more.
Picture of the week 11: Beaches of Cambodia. Sihanoukville and the small islands off that beach resort offer wonderful opportunities for beach holidays.
Picture of the week 12: Holidays in Cape Verde. Pictures from a beach in Boa Vista and a mountain village in Santo Antão. The Islands of the archipelago of Cape Verde are indeed very different from each other.
Picture of the week 13: Mountain gorilla in Uganda. The gorillas, the bonobos, and the chimpanzees are the closest living beings to human beings. There are only 600 mountain gorillas in the whole world.
Picture of the week 14: The Terracotta Army of the first Chinese Emperor. The terracotta army discovered in the 1970s near the city of Xi'An attracts visitors from all over the world.
Picture of the week 15: National parks of New Zealand. No less than 30% of the country's territory are protected as conservation parks, national parks or other protected areas.


 

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Ebony is a precious and rare wood, the primitive forests of which have been exploited excessively in Mauritius by the successive settlers.