/ree yoohn"yeuhn/; Fr. /rdday yuu nyawonn"/, n.
an island in the Indian Ocean, E of Madagascar: an overseas department of France. 692,204; 970 sq. mi. (2512 sq. km). Cap.: St. Denis.

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Introduction Reunion
Background: The Portuguese discovered the uninhabited island in 1513. From the 17th to the 19th centuries, French immigration supplemented by influxes of Africans, Chinese, Malays, and Malabar Indians gave the island its ethnic mix. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 cost the island its importance as a stopover on the East Indies trade route. Geography Reunion -
Location: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar
Geographic coordinates: 21 06 S, 55 36 E
Map references: World
Area: total: 2,512 sq km water: 10 sq km land: 2,502 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Rhode Island
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 207 km
Maritime claims: exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate: tropical, but temperature moderates with elevation; cool and dry from May to November, hot and rainy from November to April
Terrain: mostly rugged and mountainous; fertile lowlands along coast
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m highest point: Piton des Neiges 3,069 m
Natural resources: fish, arable land, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 13.2% permanent crops: 2% other: 84.8% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 120 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: periodic, devastating cyclones (December to April); Piton de la Fournaise on the southeastern coast is an active volcano Environment - current issues: NA
Geography - note: this mountainous, volcanic island has an active volcano, Piton de la Fournaise; there is a tropical cyclone center at Saint-Denis, which is the monitoring station for the whole of the Indian Ocean People Reunion
Population: 743,981 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 31.7% (male 120,864; female 115,251) 15-64 years: 62.5% (male 228,864; female 235,991) 65 years and over: 5.8% (male 17,459; female 25,552) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.52% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 20.7 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 5.51 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/ female total population: 0.98 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 8.31 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 73.18 years female: 76.74 years (2002 est.) male: 69.78 years
Total fertility rate: 2.55 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA% HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Reunionese (singular and plural) adjective: Reunionese
Ethnic groups: French, African, Malagasy, Chinese, Pakistani, Indian
Religions: Roman Catholic 86%, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist (1995)
Languages: French (official), Creole widely used
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 79% male: 76% female: 80% (1982 est.) Government Reunion
Country name: conventional long form: Department of Reunion conventional short form: Reunion local short form: Ile de la Reunion local long form: none former: Bourbon Island
Dependency status: overseas department of France
Government type: NA
Capital: Saint-Denis Administrative divisions: none (overseas department of France); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 4 arrondissements, 24 communes, and 47 cantons
Independence: none (overseas department of France)
National holiday: Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)
Constitution: 28 September 1958 (French Constitution)
Legal system: French law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Jacques CHIRAC of France (since 17 May 1995), represented by Prefect Gonthier FRIEDERICI (since NA) elections: French president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; prefect appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of the Interior; the presidents of the General and Regional Councils are elected by the members of those councils head of government: President of the General Council Jean-Luc POUDROUX (since NA March 1998) and President of the Regional Council Paul VERGES (since NA March 1993) cabinet: NA
Legislative branch: unicameral General Council (49 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve six- year terms) and a unicameral Regional Council (45 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve six-year terms) elections: General Council - last held NA March 1998 (next to be held NA 2004); Regional Council - last held 15 March 1998 (next to be held NA 2004) election results: General Council - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - various right-wing candidates 27, PCR 10, PS 10, other left-wing candidates 2; Regional Council - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PCR 7, UDF 8, PS 6, RPR 4, various right-wing candidates 15, various left-wing candidates 5 note: Reunion elects three representatives to the French Senate; elections last held NA 2001 (next to be held NA 2006); results - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA; Reunion also elects five deputies to the French National Assembly; elections last held 9 June-16 June 2002 (next to be held NA 2007); results - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA
Judicial branch: Court of Appeals or Cour d'Appel Political parties and leaders: Communist Party of Reunion or PCR [Paul VERGES]; Rally for the Republic or RPR [Andre Maurice PIHOUEE]; Socialist Party or PS [Jean-Claude FRUTEAU]; Union for French Democracy or UDF [Gilbert GERARD] Political pressure groups and NA
leaders: International organization FZ, InOC, WFTU
participation: Diplomatic representation in the US: none (overseas department of France) Diplomatic representation from the none (overseas department of France)
Flag description: the flag of France is used Economy Reunion -
Economy - overview: The economy has traditionally been based on agriculture. Sugarcane has been the primary crop for more than a century, and in some years it accounts for 85% of exports. The government has been pushing the development of a tourist industry to relieve high unemployment, which amounts to more than 40% of the labor force. The gap in Reunion between the well-off and the poor is extraordinary and accounts for the persistent social tensions. The white and Indian communities are substantially better off than other segments of the population, often approaching European standards, whereas minority groups suffer the poverty and unemployment typical of the poorer nations of the African continent. The outbreak of severe rioting in February 1991 illustrates the seriousness of socioeconomic tensions. The economic well-being of Reunion depends heavily on continued financial assistance from France.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $3.4 billion (1998 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.8% (1998 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $4,800 (1998 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: NA% industry: NA% services: NA% Population below poverty line: NA% Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
percentage share: highest 10%: NA% Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%
Labor force: 261,000 (1995) Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 8%, industry 19%, services 73% (1990)
Unemployment rate: 42.8% (1998)
Budget: revenues: NA expenditures: NA, including capital expenditures of $NA
Industries: sugar, rum, cigarettes, handicraft items, flower oil extraction Industrial production growth rate: NA% Electricity - production: 1.09 billion kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 55.05% hydro: 44.95% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 1.014 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: sugarcane, vanilla, tobacco, tropical fruits, vegetables, corn
Exports: $214 million (f.o.b., 1997)
Exports - commodities: sugar 63%, rum and molasses 4%, perfume essences 2%, lobster 3%, (1993)
Exports - partners: France 74%, Japan 6%, Comoros 4% (1994)
Imports: $2.5 billion (c.i.f., 1997)
Imports - commodities: manufactured goods, food, beverages, tobacco, machinery and transportation equipment, raw materials, and petroleum products
Imports - partners: France 64%, Bahrain 3%, Germany 3%, Italy 3% (1994)
Debt - external: $NA Economic aid - recipient: $NA; note - substantial annual subsidies from France
Currency: euro (EUR); French franc (FRF)
Currency code: EUR; FRF
Exchange rates: euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175 (2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); French francs per US dollar - 5.8995 (1998), 5.8367 (1997)
Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Reunion Telephones - main lines in use: 268,500 (1999) Telephones - mobile cellular: 197,000 (September 2000)
Telephone system: general assessment: adequate system; principal center is Saint-Denis domestic: modern open wire and microwave radio relay network international: radiotelephone communication to Comoros, France, Madagascar; new microwave route to Mauritius; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 55, shortwave 0 (2001)
Radios: 173,000 (1997) Television broadcast stations: 35 (plus 18 low-power repeaters) (2001)
Televisions: 127,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .re Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: 10,000 (1999) Transportation Reunion
Railways: 0 km
Highways: total: 2,724 km paved: 1,300 km (including 73 km of four-lane road) note: 370 km of road are maintained by national authorities, 754 km by departmental authorities and 1,600 km by local authorities (1994) unpaved: 1,424 km
Waterways: none
Ports and harbors: Le Port, Pointe des Galets
Merchant marine: total: 1 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 28,264 GRT/44,885 DWT note: includes a foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: France 1 (2002 est.) ships by type: chemical tanker 1
Airports: 2 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 2 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2001) Military Reunion
Military branches: no regular indigenous military forces; French forces (including Army, Navy, Air Force, and Gendarmerie) Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age (2002 est.) Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 194,485 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 99,251 (2002 est.)
service: Military manpower - reaching males: 6,243 (2002 est.)
military age annually:
Military - note: defense is the responsibility of France Transnational Issues Reunion Disputes - international: none

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Island (pop., 2002 est.: 743,000) and French overseas department, Mascarene Islands, western Indian Ocean.

Located 425 mi (684 km) east of Madagascar, it is about 39 mi (63 km) long and 28 mi (45 km) wide and has an area of 970 sq mi (2,512 sq km). Its capital is Saint-Denis. It consists mainly of rugged mountains dissected by torrential rivers. Most of the population is of mixed descent, with African descent predominant. Réunion was settled in the 17th century by the French, who brought slaves from eastern Africa to work on coffee and sugar plantations. It was a French colony until 1946, when it became an overseas department of France. Its economy is based almost entirely on the export of sugar. Other products include machinery and transport equipment, rum, molasses, tobacco, geraniums, and vanilla.

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▪ island and department, France
officially  Department of Réunion , French  Département de la Réunion 
 island of the Mascarene Islands and a French overseas département in the western Indian Ocean. It is located about 420 miles (680 km) east of Madagascar and 110 miles (180 km) southwest of Mauritius. Réunion is almost elliptical in shape, about 40 miles (65 km) long and 30 miles (50 km) wide. The capital is Saint-Denis on the northern coast.

 Of volcanic origin, Réunion consists mostly of rugged mountains in an advanced state of dissection by short torrential rivers. The west-central area contains a mountain massif with three summits exceeding 9,000 feet (2,740 metres), including the Piton des Neiges (10,069 feet). This massif is encircled by several wide basins and a series of smaller plateaus. In the eastern part of the island is an area of more recent volcanism, and in the extreme east is the mountain Le Volcan, one of whose craters, Piton de la Fournaise, has been active several times since 1925. Réunion's coast has no good natural harbours.

      Moisture-laden southeast trade winds, which dominate the weather from April to October, bring abundant annual rainfall (160–315 inches [4,000–8,000 mm]) to the south and east of the island; the north and west sides, however, have as little as 25 inches (635 mm) of rain a year. Temperatures tend to be cool for the tropics, especially at higher elevations, but in summer the lowlands are uncomfortably humid. Tropical cyclones occur frequently.

      Réunion was first settled in the 17th century by colonists from France. Slave labourers were brought in from East Africa to work on plantations, and later Malays, Annamites, Chinese, and Malabar Indians were imported as indentured labourers. Today most of the population is of mixed descent (Creole), with African descent predominant. The limited amount of land has induced substantial emigration, largely to France but also to Madagascar. The island's population density is high, even in areas that typically would be considered too mountainous to support a dense population. Saint-Denis, the capital and largest urban area on the island, contains almost one-fifth of the total population. The language in common use on the island is Creole (creole languages); French (French language), however, is the official language. About 90 percent of the population is Roman Catholic.

      Réunion's economy has been based almost entirely on sugar for more than a century. Cane is grown on most of the cultivable land, though vanilla bean and some fruits and vegetables, tobacco, and geraniums (for perfume) are also produced. About a dozen big estates with milling facilities produce the bulk of the cane crop. Sugar represents about 75 percent of Réunion's exports, and such sugar by-products as rum and molasses account for much of the rest. Much of Réunion's trade is with France. Unemployment continues to be a problem. A few paved roads connect the main towns on the island. Le Port can handle large ships through artificial port facilities. An international airport is located near Saint-Denis.

Government and social conditions
      As an overseas département of France, Réunion elects five deputies to the French National Assembly and three to the Senate. The département is administered by an appointed prefect and a general council composed of 44 elected members. There is also a regional council (created 1974) for Réunion that coordinates social and economic development policies. The Réunionese are full citizens of France, and classes in the département's schools are conducted in French.

      Uninhabited when first visited by Portuguese navigators in the early 1500s, Réunion was settled in the mid-1600s, when the French East India Company established a layover station for ships rounding the Cape of Good Hope en route to India. African slaves were imported to work in first coffee and then sugar plantations; with the abolition of slavery in 1848, indentured labourers from Indochina, India, and East Africa were brought in. Réunion was ruled by France as a colony until 1946, when it became an overseas département of France; in 1974 it gained the status of région as well. The headquarters of the French military forces in the Indian Ocean were established on Réunion in 1973, with the arrival of personnel withdrawn from Madagascar. In the late 1970s the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union) urged that Réunion be granted full independence, but this proposition was not embraced by the majority of Réunion's inhabitants and thus was not pursued with any zeal.

      Persistent social and economic unrest, fueled by the widening gap between the rich and the poor and by high rates of unemployment, periodically erupted into demonstrations and violence during the 1990s and 2000s. Rioting in February 1991 left 11 people dead, and in 1997 demonstrations were held against proposed civil service reforms. In 2000 a proposal made by the French government to split the island into two départements spawned demonstrations both for and against the division; the proposal was later rejected by the French Senate.

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Universalium. 2010.

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