In 1965, British administrators separated the Chagos Islands from Mauritius, which was granted independence three years later. Mauritius had been occupied by the Dutch from 1638 to 1710, although France had established the first colonial administration in 1715. Almost 100 years later (1810), the British captured the island during the Napoleonic Wars. Britain later established a naval base and air station on the island: their strategic importance was emphasized during World War II, when they were used to conduct anti-submarine, intelligence (signals) and convoy operations.
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