Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden

The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden (sometimes shortened to the SSR Botanical Garden), commonly known as the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden, is a popular tourist attraction in Pamplemousses, near Port Louis, Mauritius, and the oldest botanical garden in the Southern Hemisphere. Famous for its long pond of giant water lilies (Victoria amazonica), the garden was first constructed by Pierre Poivre (1719 – 1786) in 1770, and it covers an area of around 37 hectares.

The garden, for a long time was ranked third among all the gardens that could be admired over the surface of the globe’, have been known successively as ‘Jardin de Mon Plaisir’, ‘Jardin des Plantes’, ‘Le Jardin National de l’Ile de France’, ‘Jardin Royal’, ‘Jardin Botanique des Pamplemousses’, and during the British colonisation, ‘The Royal Botanical Gardens of Pamplemousses’ and ‘The Royal Botanic Gardens, Pamplemousses’. On 17 September 1988 the garden was formally named “Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden”,[1] named after the first prime minister of Mauritius, as was the smaller SSR Botanical Garden of Curepipe.

In addition to its giant waterlilies, the garden also features spices, ebonies, sugar canes, and 85 varieties of palms from Central America, Asia, Africa and the islands around the Indian Ocean. Many trees have been planted by world leaders and royalty, including Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, Indira Gandhi, François Mitterrand and Robert Mugabe.[2]

These gardens are situated in the village of Pamplemousses which lies about seven miles northeast of the capital, Port Louis. Pamplemousse or pamplemoucier is the grapefruit tree (Citrus x paradisi), which grows in the region, possibly introduced by the Dutch from Java.[3]

Giant water lilies
Giant water lilies at the SSR Botanical garden

Associated property Mon Plaisir

The gardens, which now cover an area of about 62,040 acres, were set aside on 8 June 1729 for colonist P. Barmont 'barmond', who sold it on 3 January 1735 to Claude N. de Maupin, an overseer in the royal French East India Company. Subsequently, there were several other owners, and by 1805, the land had increased to about 121,000 acres. By 1868, the gardens themselves occupied 47,564 acres, with later additions to a total of 93,060 acres. Only 62,040 acres of garden remain, the rest being an experimental station.

Establishment

The origin of the Royal Botanic Gardens of Pamplemousses can be traced to the first and most famous French Governor of Mauritius, François Mahé de Labourdonnais at a time when the island was known as Isle de France. In 1735, Labourdonnais bought the property Mon Plaisir and created a vegetable garden to provide produce for his household, the young township of Port Louis, and the ships landing on the island. If this garden counts as precursor to the present garden, then Pamplemousses is the oldest botanical garden in the former British territories. On the other hand, its origin is often traced to 1768, when Pierre Poivre became director. Either way, it was one of the oldest and the most remarkable botanical collections in the tropics.

Function

2006-10-06 Pamplemousse Botanical Garden, Mauritius
View of the giant water lilies (Victoria amazonica) pond.

Pamplemousses was probably the earliest of the ‘botanical gardens’ in the tropics; an 18th-century garden maintained as a nursery for the acclimatization of potential crop plants from overseas – although its status as a botanic garden is disputed.[4] These gardens sometimes acquired botanical status under the directorship of a botanist who would establish a herbarium. Pamplemousses is still a beautiful and interesting garden but without either herbarium or glasshouses.[5]

Paplemousses botanical garden map
Map showing the extent of the Garden.

The garden was also used as a nursery for the planting and acclimatization of plants of botanical and economic importance that were introduced mostly from Europe and the East. Chief among the first introductions was cassava (manioc), which Labourdonnais brought from Brazil to provide food for the island's slaves.

In 1739, the French East India Company took possession of Mon Plaisir and almost the entire estate was planted with mulberry trees in the hope of establishing a silkworm industry. Subsequently, the mulberries were replaced by a plantation of bois noir (Albizia lebbeck), the charcoal of which could be used in the manufacture of gunpowder. The French had taken possession of the island as a naval base and the administration was geared towards taking precautions against the island being involved in a war.

When Davis was appointed Governor in 1746, he built and resided at ‘Le Réduit’ and deserted the residence at Mon Plaisir, so that from 1746 until 1753, Mon Plaisir was virtually abandoned. Later, Fusée-Aublet, a horticulturist, was sent to establish a drug house and to create a botanical garden; he lived first at Mon Plaisir but was unhappy and transferred all his plant collections to Réduit. He was at loggerheads with ‘M. Le Poivre p’ (‘Mister Pepper’) — as he used to call Pierre Poivre — over the identification of nutmeg plants (Myristica fragrans).

After two visits to the Isle de France, Pierre Poivre was appointed Intendant of the island in 1767. The following year, he occupied Mon Plaisir in his official capacity and in 1770 he purchased the estate for himself. He was the creator of the present gardens, since in addition to a nursery for the acclimatisation of the nutmeg and clove plants, he also gathered together numerous plants from other areas with as many indigenous plant species as he could. It is thanks to Poivre and his successor Nicolas Céré, who devoted his life and most of his personal fortune to create the gardens, that Pamplemousses became well known to leading naturalists and acquired the worldwide fame it has since retained.


Between 1810 and 1849, the gardens went through an unsettled and difficult period. In 1849, James Duncan was appointed director of the much neglected gardens. He restored the abandoned gardens to something of their former beauty and introduced numerous species of plants including many of the palms now represented in the gardens.

By the middle of the last century, the sugar industry had been fast developing, and the gardens provided a suitable site for the introduction of new cane varieties from other parts of the world. Dr. Charles Meller, one of the directors of the garden, was sent to Australia and New Zealand to bring new varieties of canes; unfortunately, he died in the course of the journey.

When the malaria epidemic struck Mauritius in 1866, much of the gardens were used as a nursery for the production of thousands of Eucalyptus trees which were introduced in an attempt to control the disease by drying out the marshes of the country, the breeding places of mosquitoes.

The Director of the Botanic Gardens became in due course also the Conservator of forests. The gardens stayed under his care until the creation of the Department of Agriculture in 1913. The latter then took over the responsibility of the gardens and they have remained under its control ever since.

Exhibits

In August 2016, it was reported that the deers on exhibit were suffering from scabies.[6]

References

  1. ^ "Description of gardens and their history". Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  2. ^ Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Garden Mysterra Magazine
  3. ^ "web history". Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  4. ^ Hyams, Edward. 1969. Great Botanical Gardens of the World. London: Nelson. p. 220.
  5. ^ Hyams, Edward. 1969. Great Botanical Gardens of the World. London: Nelson. p. 220.
  6. ^ http://www.lexpress.mu/video/288097/jardin-botanique-pamplemousses-27-cerfs-souffrent-gale

External links

Coordinates: 20°6′29.35″S 57°34′38.11″E / 20.1081528°S 57.5772528°E

Curepipe Botanic Gardens

Curepipe Botanic Gardens (or SSR Botanical Garden of Curepipe) in Route des Jardins, Curepipe, is the second largest botanical garden in Mauritius.

It has a relatively informal layout, and contains a river, lake and the world's rarest palm tree among other attractions.

Jean-Nicolas Céré

Jean-Nicolas Céré (20 August 1737 – 2 May 1810) was a French botanist and agronomist born on the Indian Ocean Isle de France (now Mauritius) but educated in Brittany and Paris. On the Isle de France he was befriended by Pierre Poivre (1719–1786), administrator of the Isle de France and Ile Bourbon (Réunion), who he assisted in the cultivation of spices. When Poivre was recalled to France in 1773 Céré was appointed Director of the Royal Garden at Monplaisir (now Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden), a position he held from 1775 to the time of his death in 1810.

During his time on the island Céré encouraged plant exchange, making a considerable contribution to economic botany by sending living plants to many countries, raising numerous peppers, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg trees which he distributed to the neighbouring French islands, and also introducing to Mauritius useful plants from Malaysia, America, China and elsewhere.

Kailash Purryag

Rajkeswur Purryag, GCSK (born 12 December 1947, also known as Kailash Purryag) GCSK, GOSK is a Mauritian politician who served as President of Mauritius from 2012 to May 2015. He was elected as the fifth President of Mauritius by the National Assembly and took office on 21 July 2012. He succeeded Sir Anerood Jugnauth, who spent nine years as President from 2003 until resigning in March 2012. Kailash Purryag previously served as Member of Parliament, Minister and Speaker of the National Assembly; he made his debut in the political arena at an early age in 1976.

List of Mauritius-related topics

This is a partial list of topics related to Mauritius.

List of botanical gardens

A botanical garden is a place where plants, especially ferns, conifers and flowering plants, are grown and displayed for the purposes of research, conservation, and education. This distinguishes them from parks and pleasure gardens where plants, usually with showy flowers, are grown for public amenity only. Botanical gardens that specialize in trees are sometimes referred to as arboretums. They are occasionally associated with zoos.

The earliest botanical gardens were founded in the late Renaissance at the University of Pisa (1543) and the University of Padua (1545) in Italy, for the study and teaching of medical botany. Many Universities today have botanical gardens for student teaching and academic research, e.g. the Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University, USA, the Bonn University Botanic Garden, Bonn, Germany, the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Cambridge, England, the Hortus Botanicus, Leiden, Netherlands, and the Kraus Preserve of Ohio Wesleyan University, USA.

This page lists important botanical gardens throughout the world.

A useful database cataloging the world's botanic gardens can also be found at the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) website. With over 800 participating botanical gardens, BGCI forms the world's largest network for plant conservation and environmental education.

Monplaisir

Monplaisir may refer to:

Monplaisir Palace, Peterhof, Russia

Monplaisir Garden, Peterhof, Russia

Monplaisir, Lyon, a district in Lyon, France

Monplaisir (surname)

Pierre Poivre

Pierre Poivre (23 August 1719 – 6 January 1786) was an 18th century horticulturist and botanist. He was born in Lyon, France.

He was a missionary to East Asia, intendant of French colonial islands in the Indian Ocean, and wearer of the cordon of St. Michel.

Seewoosagur Ramgoolam

Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (Hindi: सर शिवसागर रामगुलाम; September 18, 1900 – December 15, 1985; often referred to as Chacha Ramgoolam) was a Mauritian politician, statesman and philanthropist. He was a leader in the Mauritian independence movement, and served as the first Chief Minister and Prime Minister of Mauritius, as well as its Governor-General. He was the Chairperson of the Organisation of African Unity from 1976 to 1977. As the leader of the Labour Party, Ramgoolam fought for the rights of labourers and led Mauritius to independence in 1968.

After his tertiary studies in London, Ramgoolam, who was initially a fervent defendant of the British administration and its empire, started calling for mass movement in order to obtain equal treatment, consideration, education and chances for all Mauritians through his authorship in a newspaper. His views changed due to then-fate of the Indo-Mauritian community which was oppressed, uneducated and ill-treated by the elite. He later joined the Labour Party to align himself with other members who were asking for equal rights and adequate working conditions for workers (mainly laborers). He later took leadership of the fight fought by other party members including Dr. Maurice Cure, Emmanuel Anquetil, Dr. R. Seeneevasen and Dr. Hassenjee.

He later cooperated with the Independent Forward Block (IFB) led by the Bissoundoyal brothers (Pundit Basdeo and Sookdeo; who were demanding for a complete decolonization and the removal of British administration from all Mauritian territories) and the Committee D'action Musulmane (CAM) led by Abdool Razack Mohamed (who demanded constitutional guarantees for the Muslim and other minority communities in an effort to prevent a circumstantial Hindu hegemony, which never happened) to form the independence party and movement which eventually led to Independence after the Mauritian general election, 1967.

Few years later, he formed a national government with then opposition party Parti Mauricien Social Démocrate (PMSD; the nationalist, conservative and only party to lead a campaign against Independence) led by Gaetan Duval in order to prevent the Mauritian economy and social environment to collapse.

Ramgoolam has been praised and highly revered for his work for independence, free education & free heatlhcare. He is criticized for accepting the unlawful excision of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritian territories by the British government. However official colonial documents which has been declassified in the UK revealed that Ramgoolam acted under duress. The British eventually evicted all the natives of the archipelago to mainland Mauritius and Seychelles to allow American to build a military base on the biggest island of the Archipelago, Diego Garcia. He is also criticized for the poor performance of his last government (1976–1982) which lacked extreme economic growth and led to the country being on the verge of bankruptcy.

Due to the extreme poor performance of his government, his party lost the 1982 general elections with a heavy defeat when none of his candidates were elected to parliament. He himself lost his seat leading to the downfall of the Labour Party. He then supported the newly formed party named MSM and its leader Anerood Jugnauth in the 1983 elections. The Labour Party became a minority party in a coalition government and Ramgoolam was appointed as Governor-General, position he held until his death.

As Mauritius' first Prime Minister, he played a crucial role in shaping modern Mauritius' government, political culture and foreign policy. He worked for the emancipation of the Mauritian population, established free universal education and free health care services, and introduced old age pensions. He is known as the "Father of the Nation". His son, Navin Ramgoolam, has had three terms as Prime Minister of Mauritius.

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