Destinations, France

Reunion Island, a small paradise

reunion island mafate hiking

Réunion Island (or La Réunion in French) is an island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar and South Africa. The island is an overseas region and department of France (department 974 to be more exact) which means that they are part of Europe and they use Euro as their currency. It was previously called Île Bourbon when the French East India Company first set foot on the island.

1. Flag of Réunion Island

flag of reunion island

The flag of Reunion island is just a state flag (overseas region) and the national flag is actually the flag of France. The flag depicts the volcano of Fournaise (2,632 m), decorated with sun beams behind.  Many public buildings and city councils have chosen to add this flag to their decoration, but it is not an official flag.

The flag was created in 1975 by Guy Pignolet, but it really started to be promoted once the “Vexillological Association of Réunion” chose it in 2003 to represent Reunion island. The flag is called Lö Mahavéli and is widely spread on the island.

2. History of Réunion Island

The island of Réunion was first discovered by Diogo Fernandes Pereira, who stumbled upon the island accidentally. He named it ilha de Santa Apolónia (in honor of the St. Apollonia whose day it was, February 9, 1507).

The island was originally known as Île Bourbon, but named Réunion in 1793. Between 1801 and 1810 it was known as Île Bonaparte (after Napoleon Bonaparte), and between 1810 and 1848 the island was again called Bourbon. The island’s official name of Île de la Réunion has stood since 1848, and Bourbon is now the official name of the only beer brewed on the island.

Reunion Island assumed its current name in 1793, in reference to the joining together (French = réunion) of the General Assembly of the Marseilles Fédérés and the Paris National Guard on the occasion of the march on the Tuileries Palace the previous year: the revolutionaries thus erasing the memory of the monarchy. In 1806, under the rule of the Empire, it assumed the name of Bonaparte, before passing under British rule in 1810 and then given back to the French under the Treaty of Paris (1814) when it once gain assumed the name Bourbon Island. In 1848, it once again became Reunion Island.

Work in progress …


Is Reunion Island part of the EU?

Yes, Réunion is the outermost region of the European Union and, as an overseas department of France is therefore path of the EU.  In fact, the island is the only European region in the southern hemisphere.

Does Reunion Island have an active volcano?

Yes, “Piton de la Fournaise” is one of the most active volcano in the world. Originally, there were two volcanoes but later they merged with only one being still active. On average, “Piton de la Fournaise” is erupting on average every nine months.

How big is Reunion Island?

The island of La Réunion has a population of 850.000 and an area of 2.512 km². An interesting fact is that its greatest diameter measures 70 kilometers (roughly 43 miles).

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