Originally claimed by the French in 1642, the island was colonized in 1665, when the French East India Company sent the first settlers. Africans, Chinese and Indians were imported as workers, contributed to ethnic diversity in the population, and most of the non-Europeans were enslaved from 1690 until the territory abolished slavery on the 20th of December, 1848. Afterwards, many of the foreign workers came as indentured workers. The Vichy regime took control of the island in World War II, until the Free French liberated the island with the destroyer Léopard on the 30th of November, 1942.
The island is known for the Children of Creuse controversy in the late 20th century, with 1,630 children from Réunion being relocated to rural areas of metropolitan France, particularly to Creuse, ostensibly for education and work opportunities, and many of these children were abused or disadvantaged by the families with whom they were placed. This was revealed in 2002 when one of them, Jean-Jacques Martial, filed suit against the French state for kidnapping and deportation of a minor.
The Réunionese flag