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Reunion: a volcanic island rich in natural beauty

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Reunion is an island in the Indian Ocean situated 700 km east of Madagascar and 200 km south-west of the island of Mauritius. The island is a French overseas department and is therefore part of the European Union. The capital is the city of Saint-Denis, which is located on the northern coast of the island.


Reunion is a volcanic island, a wild beauty, rich in mountains and possessing a still active volcano: the Piton de la Fournaise with 2.631 m The highest mountain is the Piton des Neiges, another volcano, reaching 3.070 m. The geography of the island is characterized by three volcanic calderas: the Cirque de Salazie, the Cirque de Cilaos and the Cirque de Mafate.

Reunion was discovered in the early sixteenth century by Portuguese navigators who called the island Santa Apolonia. The island was occupied by the French in 1642 and named it Île Bourbon. In 1793 – following the French Revolution – the island changed its name to the current name of Reunion. The island of Reunion is the largest of the islands that make up the Mascarene archipelago, the most important islands them are the islands of Reunion, Mauritius and Rodrigues.

The island is inhabited by a diverse population, being mostly of Creole descent, but there is also a strong presence of Indians, Europeans, Africans, Madagascans and Chinese. The existence of these races has produced a population largely of mixed race. Standard French and French Créole, a Reunion dialect based on French, are spoken by almost the entire population.

The climate of Reunion.

English text correction by Dietrich Köster. 

  • Area: 2,512 sq km: Arable Land 19%, Pastures 5%, Forests and Bushland 35%, Uncultivated and Unproductive Land 41%
  • Population: 866,000 (as of 2019): Creols 40%, Indians 28%, Europeans 26%, Chinese 3%.
  • Administrative Centre: Saint Denis.
  • Official Language: The official language is French. French Creole is also spoken.
  • Religion: Christians 90%: Catholics 86% and Protestants 4%; additionally Hinduists 6%, Muslims 3% and Buddhists
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)
  • Time Zone: UTC+4 hours, in the southern summer UTC+5 hours

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