28 Jul 2021

Prince Eyhelepola Wijesoondra, prisoner in Moulin à Poudre - Mauritius


In 1776, a powder mill was set up in the buildings of the Forges de Mon Désir in the district of Pamplemousses. It was partially destroyed by fire in 1779. Mauritius owes to François Cossigny de Palma, the secret of the preparation of gunpowder by keeping it wet, which subsequently avoided any accident that had previously resulted in the death of men. During the capture of the island by the English in 1810, Moulin à Poudre witnessed some skirmishes.


In 1814, accused of embezzlement, the Sinhalese prince Eyhelepola Wijesoondra, Prime Minister of the last king of Kandy (former capital of Sri Lanka) revolted and helped the English conquer the kingdom. He was arrested for plotting and sent to exile in Mauritius in 1825 together with some other rebels. He stayed at Moulin à Poudre, in the buildings that had become a state prison in 1823, while being free of his movements.


He died on 4th April 1829 and his body was cremated at Morcellement Saint André. A small monument is erected in his memory at Moulin à Poudre in the middle of a shady forest, not far from a busy road leading to Beau Plan.


Main source : Pamplemousses – Un Quartier chargé d’histoire


Lza M Natur

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