First developments and administrative divisions

  • Quartier de la Savane

    In 1786, the Savannah became an administrative district. Its eastern border is the Poste River and its Western border, the Rivière du Cap. Souillac with its Savane River splits the eastern and western parts of the District.  At the time, there were 29 sugar mills in the District, including in its Eastern part Baie du Cap, Choisy, Cafféterie, Saint-Martin, Bon Courage, Bel Ombre, Beau Champ, Frédérica, Sainte-Marie, Jacotet, Bagatelle,Cerné, Luchon, Cascade, Saint-Félix, Bel Air, and Suriname.

    In honour of Viscount François de Souillac, Governor from 5 November 1785 to 3 November 1787, the name of Port-Souillac was given to the town, which later became the chief town of the district. The administrative division switched from District (“Quartier”) to Canton de la Savane during the revolutionary era, and Souillac became a municipality in 1791. This was changed again when on the 2nd of October 1793, governor Decaen re-established the division of the island into districts which existed prior to the revolution. The Savane is divided into Grande Savane (from Souillac to L'Escalier) and Petite Savane (from Souillac to Macondé). [1]


    [1] Yvan Martial, Notes prises dans le livre “Ephémérides et Statistiques” du Baron d’Unienville, datant de 1838.


Souillac was connected to Bel Ombre by a simple path, and the rivers in between had to be crossed by foot or horseback,which was difficult when the rivers were swollen. Bel Ombre was also connected to Port-Louis by a boat ride through Macondé and the Rivière du Cap. On its eastern sides, there was a road that partially connected Souillac to Mahébourg. Three paths linked Souillac to Port Louis; through Grand-Bassin, the Saint-Avold establishment (Berthod line) or from Benarès.[1]

Public buildings

During the French colonial period, there were practically no public buildings and no places of worship.  Everyone was buried without ceremony in what is now known as the Maritime Cemetery.  The presence of a military outpost at Jacotet is mentioned on several occasions throughout the literature and serves to remind the reader of the burgeoning colonial characteristic of this area during this time period, its relative importance geopolitically, as well as the fragility of its early developments. [2]



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