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Useful Notes / Réunion

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An island east of Madagascar and southwest of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, Réunion (French: La Réunion) is an overseas region of France, an outermost region of the European Union and the most prosperous island in the Indian Ocean, having the highest GDP per capita in the region. In addition to the capital and largest city of the territory, Saint-Denis, this territory also contains the capital and largest city of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Saint-Pierre. With a population of 850,000 on just over 2,500 square kilometers (970 square miles), Réunion is one of the most densely-populated places in the world (it's actually more densely populated than the notoriously crowded Japan). In practical terms it's even denser: the interior of the island is largely mountainous rainforest not conducive to development, so nearly all the population lives in a "ring" along the coast.

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 best known animal native to Réunion island (as well as nearby Mauritius and Rodrigues) is the extinct dodo bird.
The Réunionese flag
Designed in 1974 by Guy Pignolet who called it Lö Mahavéli, this flag was selected by the Vexillological Association of Réunion of 2003 and is the unofficial locally used flag, while the French tricolor is the official flag. It depicts the volcano of Fournaise on a blue field, bedecked by gold sunbeams.

The French national anthem

Allons enfants de la patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé!
Contre nous, de la tyrannie
L'étendard sanglant est levé.
L'étendard sanglant est levé.
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras
Égorger vos fils et vos compagnes!

Aux armes, citoyens!
Formez vos bataillons!
Marchons, marchons,
Qu'un sang impur abreuve nos sillons!

Let us go, children of the motherland,
The day of glory has come!
Against us, the tyranny's
bloody flag has been raised.
Bloody flag has been raised.
Can you hear in the countryside,
These ferocious soldiers bellowing?
They come all the way into your arms
To arms, citizens!
Form your batallions!
Let us march, let us march,

  • Overseas department under a unitary semi-presidential republic
    • President of the Regional Council: Didier Robert

  • Capital and largest city: Saint-Denis
  • Population: 858,450
  • Area: 2,511 km² (970 sq mi)
  • Currency: Euro (€) (EUR)
  • ISO-3166-1 Code: RE

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