The Cargados Carajos Group of Islands or St. Brandon is a group of 28 islets situated at approximately 450 kms to the North North East of Mauritius at 16030S and 59035 E.
According to a publication by France Staub and Joseph Gueho contained in the proceedings of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences of Mauritius, in 1546, the Portuguese chartered two groups of islets, Sao Brandao and Cargados Carajos, placing them close together on the map. These are the groups now known to comprise a single cluster of reefs and islets known as the Cargados Carajos shoals, or by the name more commonly used in Mauritius, St. Brandon.
In 1742, Mahé de Labourdonnais sent ships to explore the islets, which, it was believed could be used as a base by the British to harass shipping and attack Ile de France. In 1769, Abbé de Rochon mapped the Archipelago with some accuracy and in the first decade of the 19th Century, General Decaen sent Captain Mariette to investigate the islets and study their possible resources.
Not long after the British conquest of Ile de France, the lagoons of St Brandon were frequented by small open boats of the fishing companies. The first settlements were rather primitive.
The islets had been leased to private companies since the colonial days, as far back as 1901, for the exploitation of guano. The lease of 15 of these islets expired in May 1992 and have not been renewed since then. The 15 islets are now under the direct control of the Outer Islands Development Corporation (OIDC), which according to the OIDC Act 1982, is responsible for the management and development of the Outer Islands. The lease of the other remaining 13 islets came to an end on October 2000 and the agreement has not been renewed. However, the former Lessee, Raphael Fishing Co Ltd. has been authorized to continue its activities pending further negotiations.