During the French colonisation of Mauritius, large plots of land were then granted to settlers of French origin, namely the famous Philibert Marragon and Gabriel Bégué, who started exploiting the marine resources and developing agriculture on the island
The British took possession of the island in 1809 and at that time, the island counted about a hundred inhabitants. As from 1810, the British government favoured settlement in Rodrigues and encouraged agricultural development of the island to the extent that it exported a lot of food resources and became known as the “granary” of Mauritius.
As a consequence of the abilition of slavery in 1835 and the ending of the apprenticeship period, on 11th March 1839, most of the Rodrigues slaves set off for the hills where they set about cultivating the land and grazing cattle and pigs. The slaves in Mauritius were amongst the last in the British Empire to be set free.
It was not until the 1840's that most of the settlers arrived and settled on the island. Mathieu Roussety arrived in 1832, Jean-Marie Meunier in 1844, Charlotte and Marie-Louise Perrine in 1846, Pierre Raffaut in 1848 along with the Latour, Calamel, Jean, François, Legoffe, Ithier and Allas. The Islamic and Chinese families started to arrive in the 1890's forming strong communities and trading businesses.
The development of the island of Rodrigues was quite slow during the British rule period as well as for many years during which, Rodrigues was considered a dependency of Mauritius. In 2002, an autonomous status was granted to Rodrigues regarding its internal affairs and bringing about the delegation of certain administrative and political powers. The Rodrigues Regional Assembly with the same powers as a Regional Government is presided by a Chief Commissioner, who deals directly the Prime Minister of Mauritius and its Central Government regarding Rodriguan affairs. Rodrigues is also represented by two members in the Mauritius Legislative Assembly.
During the past ten years, Rodrigues has been developing at a faster pace in terms of infrastructure and capacity building. New avenues of development, such as tourism and handicrafts have been established. Agricultural development is being enhanced so that the island fully participates in the food security strategy of the central government.