sailors used to call this island Dina Morgabin (“Western
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.
Réunion is divided into 4 arrondissements, 24 communes,
and 47 cantons. It is a French overseas department as well
as a French region.
|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.
de la Réunion, (or just Saint-Denis or St-Denis for
de la Réunion is the préfecture (administrative
capital) of the French overseas département Réunion.
It was founded by Étienne Régnault in 1669
and became the capital of Réunion island in 1738.
The closest airport is the Aéroport de la Réunion
Roland Garros which is also the main international airport
The hotels in Saint-Denis include Mercure Creolia Hotel,
Austral Hotel and Best Western.