The population in 1996 was about 35,000. The main language is French and the main religion is Roman Catholic. Most of the inhabitants are of African descent, and the main industries are farming and fishing.
Rodrigues was discovered in 1645 by the Portuguese, and from 1691-93 it was occupied by the Dutch. It was then colonized in the 18th century by the French. Great Britain took over the island in 1810 and administered it as part of Mauritius, which became independent in 1968.