Mauritius is an island nation located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. The capital and largest city is Port Louis. The official languages are English, French and Creole, and the population is around 1.3 million. The economy is based on tourism, sugarcane, and textile manufacturing. The island is known for its beautiful beaches, coral reefs, and diverse wildlife, including the rare Pink Pigeon and Echo Parakeet. The island also has a rich cultural heritage, with a mix of African, Indian, Chinese, and European influences. Mauritius is a parliamentary democracy with a president as head of state. The island gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1968.