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Réunion is an island and overseas département (département d'outre-mer, or DOM) of France, located in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar, about 200 km southwest of Mauritius. As the other DOMs, Réunion is also a région of France with much the same status as the parts of France situated on the European mainland.

Réunion
RegionRéunion
Number974
PréfectureSaint-Denis
Sous-préfecturesSaint-Benoît, Saint-Paul, Saint-Pierre
Area
 - Total
 - % water

2,512 km²
0.4%
Population


 - Total


 - Density


706,300 (1999 census)
763,000 (1.1.2004 estimates)


287/km²
Calling Code+262 (not required from metropolitan France or other overseas departments)
Internet TLD.re
Contents

History

Arab sailors used to call this island Dina Morgabin ("Western island"). The Portuguese were the first Europeans to visit the island, finding it uninhabited 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 département of France on March 19, 1946.

Missing image
Re-map.png
Map of Réunion

Politics

Main article: Politics of Réunion

Administratively, Réunion is divided into 4 arrondissements, 24 communes, and 47 cantons. It is a French overseas department as well as a French region.

Geography

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 kilometres). 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 August 13, 2004. La Fournaise is created by a hot spot volcano, which also created the Piton des Neiges and the islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues.

Piton des Neiges volcano, the highest point on the island at 10069 feet (3070 meters) above sea level, is northwest 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. Despite its name, snow practically never falls on the summit.

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.

Réunion also has three cirques, which are similar to corries: the cirque of Salazie, the cirque of Cilaos and the cirque of Mafate. The latter is accessible only by foot or helicopter.

Location of Reunion and France proper

Economy

Main article: Economy of Réunion

Sugar is the chief agricultural product and export, and tourism is also an important source of income. The territory has a large gap in income and standard of living between the wealthier communities of European and Indian descent, and the poorer African and other communities. Metropolitan France provides substantial financial support to Réunion.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Réunion

Culture

Main article: Culture of Réunion

See also: Music of Réunion

Reunionese culture is a blend of European, African, Indian and Pakistani and islander characteristics. The traditional language, Creole, derives from French, with many idiosyncracies. Creole is now taught in schools, but an official written transcription is not agreed upon yet. Food and music blend influences from Africa, India and Europe.

Miscellaneous topics

External links

Missing image
La_Réunion_from_space.jpg
Réunion from space (NASA image). The three cirques, forming a kind of 3-leafed clover shape, are visible in the central north of the image. Piton de la Fournaise, in the south east, is covered by cloud


Countries in Africa

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Dependencies: Canary Islands | Ceuta and Melilla | Madeira Islands | Mayotte | Réunion | Saint Helena and dependencies



La Réunion is also the name of a commune in the Lot-et-Garonne département in France.da:Reunion de:Réunion et:Réunion es:Reunión eo:Reunio fr:Réunion io:Reunion id:Reunion it:Réunion lt:Reunionas zh-min-nan:Réunion nl:Réunion ja:レユニオン pl:Reunion pt:Reunião ru:Реюньон sk:Réunion fi:Réunion sv:Réunion zh:留尼汪

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