Tuesday, July 04, 2006

History of Reunion

History of Reunion. This is a short essay of the French island of Reunion which is in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.

The Encyclopædia Britannica notes, "Island (pop., 2005 est.: 780,000) and French overseas department, Mascarene Islands, western Indian Ocean. Located 425 mi (684 km) east of Madagascar, Réunion is about 40 mi (65 km) long and 30 mi (50 km) wide and has an area of 968 sq mi (2,507 sq km). Its capital is Saint-Denis. It consists mainly of rugged mountains dissected by torrential rivers. "

From the site:

Reunion is usually said to have been first discovered in April 1513 by the Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas, and his name, or that of Mascarene Islands, is still applied to the archipelago of which it forms a part; but it seems probable that it must be identified with the island of Santa Apollonia discovered by Diego Fernandes Pereira on the 9th of February 1507. It was visited by the Dutch towards the close of the 16th century, and by the English early in the 17th century.

When in 1638 the island was taken possession of by Captain Gaubert, or Gobert, of Dieppe, it was still uninhabited; a more formal annexation in the name of Louis XIII. was effected in 1643 by Jacques Pronis, agent of the Compagnie des Indes in Madagascar; and in 1649 Etienne de Flacourt, Pronis's more eminent successor, repeated the ceremony at a spot which he named La Possession. He also changed the name of the island from Mascarenhas to Bourbon. By decree of the Convention in 1793, Bourbon in turn gave place to Reunion, and, though during the empire this was discarded in favour of Ile Bonaparte, and at the Restoration people naturally went back to Bourbon, Reunion has been the official designation since 1848. The first inhabitants were a dozen mutineers deported from Madagascar by Pronis, but they remained only three years (1646-49). Other colonists went thither of their own will in 1654 and 1662.

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