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    Under aegis of The Ministry of Arts and Culture
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    Le Morne, territoire marron |
    By Seddley Richard Assonne
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About us

Le Morne was proclaimed a National Heritage on 24th January 2006 due to its growing importance at the national level that is allied with a common sense of belonging. It enjoys a high degree of statutory protection under the National Heritage Fund Act 2003 and the Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund Act 2004. Through the latter Act, the Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund which operates under the aegis of the Ministry of Arts and Culture was established on 28th May 2004 to :

  • to promote Le Morne as a national, regional and international memorial site
  • to preserve and promote the historical, cultural, environmental and ecological aspects of Le Morne
  • to set up a museum and create public awareness in the history of Le Morne
  • to encourage research and support projects and publications related to slavery and marronage
  • to collect, publish and disseminate information pertaining to the history of slavery and marronage
  • to establish links with appropriate international organisations in line with the objects of the Act


The Le Morne Cultural Landscape

The Le Morne, following its inscription on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage List on 10th July 2008, is now known as the Le Morne Cultural Landscape.

Location

The Le Morne Cultural Landscape is located on the South Western tip of the island of Mauritius and is more commonly referred to as "the wild South". For conservation purposes the landscape possesses both a Core and a Buffer zone. The Area is a rallying point for Mauritian from all walks of life who are deeply concerned about the country's heritage in terms of its history, culture as well as the natural environment.

The Le Morne Cultural Landscape and Monument of Nature

The Le Morne Cultural landscape represents the combined works of nature and humans. With its physical attributes of a natural fortress, the Le Morne Brabant Mountain has become a natural monument when during the 17 th and 18 th centuries; groups of slaves escaped the control of their masters to seek refuge on the mountain. The landscape is also illustrative of the days of slavery in Mauritius and the quest for freedom that was ever present since human beings were "enslaved" as from the 17th, 18th and early 19th Centuries in Colonial Mauritius.

Our Vision

To serve as a focal point for current and future generations to celebrate resistance against oppression anywhere in the world as well as commemorate the suffering of humans through slavery and other systems of exploitation. It should be a living example of oppressed people achieving freedom, independence, dignity and respect for their values and cultures. It will do so by becoming a centre of excellence in terms of research, in particular the history of maroons in the wider context of slavery, and by playing a prominent role in unlocking cultural and economic opportunities for those who have suffered most under the system of slavery.

Our Mission

  • To preserve and manage the Cultural Landscape of Le Morne so that it can be used in a wise and sustainable manner that is fully cognisant of its Statement of Universal Value, and without compromising its Authenticity and Integrity
  • To develop Le Morne as a focal point for celebrating resistance to slavery by furthering high quality research on slavery in general that will not only be made available to the public but in which the latter can also participate
  • To utilise Le Morne as a tool for local economic development and capacity building so that opportunities will open up for Mauritius as a whole, and in particular for those who have been left behind in terms of economic empowerment
  • To cherish Le Morne as a symbol of reconciliation and forgiveness, not only nationally but also on a global scale, so that humanity will combine forces to resist exploitation of one human by another
  • To rally around Le Morne in support of those who continue to be oppressed and exploited by other human beings, so that it is not only a symbol of the past but a living reminder for the present
  • To use Le Morne as an exemplary place to strengthen the sense of environmental justice and support sustainable development by involving the local community for better quality of life

Heritage Legislations :

  • The Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund Act of 2004
  • The National Heritage Act of 2003

Management Tools :

  • Le Morne Cultural Landscape Management Plan 2008
  • An overarching document that guides the day to day management of the Le Morne Cultural Landscape.

  • Planning Policy Guidance 2 - Le Morne Cultural Landscape (2007)
  • A statutory document from the Ministry of Housing and Lands that provides guidance to direct and control development in and around the Core Zone and Buffer Zone of the Le Morne Cultural Landscape in order to protect and sustain its Outstanding Universal Value.

A copy of the Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund Act 2004, Management Plan 2008 and Planning Policy Guidance 2 can be downloaded on our download center.

Management of the Landscape

The Le Morne Cultural Landscape is managed by the Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund Board.

The Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund Site Office is managed by the following staff :

  • Mrs. M. Sinatambou - Officer in Charge
  • Mr. J. F. Lafleur - Site Manager
  • Ms J. Laviolette - Administrative Secretary
  • Ms K. Soobroydoo - Research Officer
  • Mrs. N. Matai - Accounts Officer
  • Mr. A. Seegolam - Conservation Officer
  • Mrs. M. R. L. Seetaram - Clerk / Word Processing Operator
  • Mrs. J. Louis - Clerk Assistant
  • Mr. T. Unuth - Driver / Office Attendant
  • Mrs. M. Verloppe - Handy Worker
  • Mr. S. Duc - Handy Worker
  • Mr. I. Veeren - Handy Worker

A Monument of Nature

Le Morne Brabant
History


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Slavery as Human Memory

Slavery has been practiced in various parts of the world, including Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe since at least the beginnings of recorded history. By the beginning of the 16 th century, a truly global trade in slaves began to take shape, a trade that would last well into the 19 th century and even into the 20 th century in some parts of the world.
The magnitude of this trade is suggested by the fact that approximately 12 million slaves if not more are known to have been exported from Africa to the America between circa 1500 and 1860's. Millions of people were shipped from Sub-Saharan Africa into North Africa and the wider Mediterranean basin and from the eastern regions of the continent into the Middle East and South Asia. Slavery and slave trading flourished in other parts of the world as well, including the Indian sub-continent and South East Asia. The number of men, women and children brought up in the trades remains to be ascertained.

Mauritius: Slave Trading Centre in the Indian Ocean

It is an acknowledged fact that French merchants used the Mascarene Islands as a platform to undertake slave trading with Madagascar, Mozambique, the Swahili coast, and South Asia. Slaves taken from the above countries were transported to several parts of the world.
Ongoing research is revealing that the island of Mauritius played a significant role as an important slave trading centre within the wider Indian Ocean world – and beyond – during the late 18th and early 19th centuries: in terms of the number of slavesinvolved and in terms of the consequences and impacts of that trade on the social, economic and political life in the region and elsewhere in the world.
The exceptionally diverse geographical, ethnic, and cultural origins of the Mauritian slave population highlights the extent to which slave resistance on the island was a pluri-ethnic/pan-cultural phenomenon, which justifies the island's suitability in general and that of Le Morne in particular as the perfect location to commemorate resistance to slavery.

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Resistance to Slavery in Mauritius: the Phenomena of Maroonage

Opposition to slavery took many forms, the most public manifestation of which being maroonage, that is the flight of slaves from their masters. Fugitive slaves or maroons were first found on the island during the Dutch period (1638-1710) and became an integral part of the island's social landscape shortly after French Colonization of Mauritius in 1721.

Choosing to live in Difficult Situations

Maroon slaves faced very difficult situations, such as hunger, a lack of adequate shelter, the need to be continually on the move, and the constant fear of capture which could entail dire consequences, such as branding, whipping, body mutilations and very often the death sentence. Despite having to face these harsh conditions while on the run and the severe punishments that awaited them if captured, a large number of slaves still became maroons.

In the 1770's: 4 to 5% of the island slave population marooned.

This figure increased to 11-13% in the 1820's.

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Maroons at Le Morne

Several visitors and travelers to the island such as Abbé de la Caille, Bernardin de Saint Pierre, Maximilien Wilklinski, Georges Clark, Nicholas Pike, mentioned the presence of maroons or maroon bands on or near Le Morne Brabant Mountain. Such accounts are confirmed by official historical documents mentioning the problems created by the maroons and/or maroon bands residing on or near Le Morne Brabant Mountain that attacked the nearby settlers and their plantations. Notorious maroon leaders that are known to have been associated to the Le Morne Cultural Landscape are Bellaca, Sans Souci and Barbe Blanche.

Anthropology

Mauritius has been a key player in the Global Slave Trade and although slaves at one point in time have formed the bulk of the Mauritian Population mainly during the French Occupation...

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Archaeology

In 2003, the National Heritage Fund funded historical and archaeological works to be undertaken by a team at the University of Mauritius in order to identify and locate sites associated to marooning...

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Biodiversity

The Le Morne Cultural Landscape has been hailed as a monument of Nature....

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International Slave Route Monument

The Slave Route Project was launched officially during the First Session of the International Scientific Committee of the Slave Route in September 1994 in Ouidah, Benin, one of the former major...

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Research & Documentation Unit

The Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund has a Documentation Unit...

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Events and Activities

Main Activities 2015

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Related Links

Le Morne Cultural Landscape on UNESCO World Heritage....

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Download Center

Click to download the pdfs

Act 2004
PLANNING POLICY GUIDANCE
Management Plan
Visitor trail
Accounts Officer
Trail Map
Licensed Tourist Guide

World Heritage

Video




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Contact

You want to discover the Le Morne Cultural Landscape or you want more information about the site, please do not hesitate to contact us

Give us a call

Guided visit offered with advanced booking

Royal Road, Le Morne Village

info@lemorneheritage.org

+(230) 4515759/99

+(230) 451 5765

www.lemorneheritage.org


Working Hours

Office: Monday to Friday: 08h45 – 16h

For planned guided tours, the office is opened on Saturday and Sunday.

Opening Hours

International Slave Route Monument: Monday to Saturday: 09h30 - 16h

Sunday: 09h30 – 12h30

Closed on public holidays

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