Souillac is a village close to the southernmost point of the main island of Mauritius. It is the capital of Savanne district. It was named after the Vicomte de Souillac, the island's governor from 1779-1787. In 1787, Vicomte de Souillac decided to create a port for the south and south-west of the then Ile de France. At that time the island was an important port of call for the French vessels on their way to and from India. Strategically the French also wanted a base for the defense of the southern coast.
The most suitable place to erect a port was the southernmost point of the island where a large and deep estuary (formed by the Savanne River), without coral reefs, would permit the vessels to accost nearest to the land. The port would also be used for the transportation of agricultural products (including sugar) to Port Louis as no suitable road could link Port Louis with the Southern part of the island at that time.
During the English colonisation, the port has been greatly used for the transportation of sugar from the many southern sugar factories to the Capital (Port Louis) making it the most busy seaport in the south. Its importance started to decrease with the introduction of railways in the island from 1877. With the development of other means of transport, the port became less and less used. However by that time, the locality had already grown into a village. The village kept the name of Souillac.