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Réunion is an overseas département (département d'outre-mer, or DOM) of France, located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. As the other DOMs, Réunion is also a région of France.

La Réunion
Region Réunion
Number 974
Préfecture Saint-Denis
Sous-préfectures Saint-Benoît, Saint-Paul, Saint-Pierre
 - Total
 - % water

2,512 km²
 - Total (2000)
 - Density


Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Geography
4 Economy
5 Demographics
6 Culture
7 Miscellaneous topics
8 External link


The Portuguese discovered the uninhabited island in 1513.

The island was then occupied by the French. In 1642, the King of France Louis XIII named it Île Bourbon. It was renamed Réunion during the French Revolution.

From the 17th to the 19th centuries, French immigration supplemented by influxes of Africans, Chinese, Malays, and Malabar Indians gave the island its ethnic mix. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 cost the island its importance as a stopover on the East Indies trade route.

Réunion became an overseas departement of France on March 19, 1946.


Main article: Politics of Réunion

Administratively, Réunion is divided into 4 arrondissements, 24 communes, and 47 cantons.


Main article: Geography of Réunion

The island is 39 miles (63 kilometers) long, is 28 miles (45 kilometers) wide, and covers 970 square miles (2150 square kilometers). The island is similar to the big island of Hawaii because both are located above hot spots in the Earth's crust.

Piton de la Fournaise, a shield volcano on the eastern end of Réunion Island, rises more than 8565 feet (2611 meters) above sea level and is sometimes called a sister to Hawaiian volcanoes because of the similarity of climate and volcanic nature, has erupted more than 100 times since 1640 and is under constant monitoring. It most recently erupted on January 9, 2004.

Piton des Neiges volcano, the highest point on the island at 10069 feet (3070 meters) above sea level, is west of Piton de la Fournaise volcano. Collapsed calderas and canyons are southwest of the mountain. Like Mauna Kea on the big island of Hawaii, Piton des Neiges is extinct.

The slopes of both volcanoes are heavily forested. Cultivated land and cities like the capital city of Saint-Denis are concentrated on the surrounding coastal lowlands.


Main article: Economy of Réunion

Sugar is the chief agricultural product and export.


Main article: Demographics of Réunion


Main article: Culture of Réunion

Miscellaneous topics

External link

Réunion from space (NASA image)

La Réunion is also the name of a commune in the Lot-et-Garonne département in France.