During the French colonial rule, Bel Ombre experienced its first developments. Land concessions were granted to European settlers who sought opportunity in Mauritius. From 1765 until 1810, the area witnessed a gradual structuring of agricultural activities and the birth of plantation life, with the first factory there being built in 1802. During the turn of the 18th century, slavery, the illegal slave trade and resulting maroon activities were at their peak. Bernardin de Saint Pierre who crossed Mauritius with the help of slaves bears witness to this: he describes their dire conditions, but also the hospitality of those hosting him in the South and the incredible beauty of the site. Later, as the British move to take over the island, the residents of Bel Ombre show their tenacity by rejecting the intruders. Their efforts ended in vain , as the British eventually landed in Cap Malheureux and took over Isle de France, renaming it Mauritius.