Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 2008
Size of heritage: 350 ha
- Buffer zone: 2,405 ha

Longitude: 57,328°
Latitude: -19,548°


Le Morne Cultural Landscape, a rugged mountain that juts into the Indian Ocean in the southwest of Mauritius was used as a shelter by runaway slaves, maroons, through the 18th and early years of the 19th centuries. Protected by the mountain’s isolated, wooded and almost inaccessible cliffs, the escaped slaves formed small settlements in the caves and on the summit of Le Morne. The oral traditions associated with the maroons, have made Le Morne a symbol of the slaves’ fight for freedom, their suffering, and their sacrifice, all of which have relevance to the countries from which the slaves came - the African mainland, Madagascar, India, and South-east Asia. Indeed, Mauritius, an important stopover in the eastern slave trade, also came to be known as the “Maroon republic” because of the large number of escaped slaves who lived on Le Morne Mountain.

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Le Morne Cultural Landscape: A UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mauritius

The Le Morne Cultural Landscape, located in the southwestern part of Mauritius, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that holds immense historical and cultural significance. This breathtaking landscape encompasses the iconic Le Morne Brabant mountain, a symbol of resistance and freedom for the slaves who once inhabited the island.

Historical Significance

The history of Le Morne Cultural Landscape is deeply intertwined with the dark period of slavery in Mauritius. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the island served as a major hub for the transatlantic slave trade. Slaves from Africa, Madagascar, and India were brought to Mauritius to work on sugar plantations under harsh conditions.

Le Morne Brabant, with its rugged cliffs and inaccessible terrain, became a refuge for runaway slaves known as "maroons." These brave individuals sought solace and freedom in the mountain's caves and dense vegetation, forming a community that resisted the oppressive system of slavery.

Tragically, in 1835, when slavery was abolished in Mauritius, a group of British soldiers was sent to inform the maroons of their freedom. However, due to a miscommunication, the maroons believed that they were being captured and chose to jump to their deaths from the cliffs of Le Morne Brabant, rather than return to a life of servitude.

Current State

Today, the Le Morne Cultural Landscape stands as a powerful reminder of the island's painful past and the resilience of those who fought for freedom. The site was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, recognizing its outstanding universal value and the need for its preservation.

The landscape itself is a stunning combination of rugged cliffs, lush vegetation, and pristine beaches. The Le Morne Brabant mountain, rising 556 meters above sea level, is a prominent feature of the area. Its unique geological formations and endemic flora and fauna make it a site of great ecological importance.

Visitors to the Le Morne Cultural Landscape can explore the mountain through guided hikes, taking in breathtaking views of the surrounding Indian Ocean and the island's picturesque coastline. The area also offers opportunities for water sports such as kiteboarding and snorkeling, allowing visitors to experience the natural beauty of the site from a different perspective.

Efforts have been made to ensure the sustainable management and preservation of the Le Morne Cultural Landscape. Local communities, including descendants of the maroons, actively participate in the conservation and promotion of the site's cultural heritage. Educational programs and initiatives have been implemented to raise awareness about the history and significance of Le Morne Brabant.

Overall, the Le Morne Cultural Landscape stands as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the importance of preserving our shared history. It serves as a reminder of the struggles faced by those who fought for freedom and a symbol of hope for future generations.