Updated: Sep 18, 2022
Réunion Island or officialy Département d’Outre-Mer de la Réunion (Department of Réunion).
Is an overseas department and region of the French Republic and an Indian Ocean island in East Africa, east of Madagascar and 175 km southwest of Mauritius.
Reason for naming the country
"Île de la Réunion" was the name given to the island in 1793 by a decree of the Convention Nationale (the elected revolutionary constituent assembly) with the fall of the House of Bourbon in France, and the name commemorates the union of revolutionaries from Marseille with the National Guard in Paris, which took place on 10 August 1792. In 1801, the island was renamed "Île Bonaparte", after First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte.
During the Napoleonic Wars, the island was invaded by a Royal Navy squadron led by Commodore Josias Rowley in 1810, who used the old name of "Bourbon". When it was restored to France by the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the island retained the name "Bourbon" until the fall of the restored Bourbons during the French Revolution of 1848, when the island was once again given the name "Île de la Réunion".
The flag of Réunion Island was adopted on 15 February 1794.
The official flag of Réunion is the same as the Flag of France, but the flag below is used more frequently.
The flag is composed of the volcano of Fournaise, bedecked by gold sunbeams. Independentists and nationalists of Reunion also have their flag (green, yellow, and red) which was created in 1986.
Green symbolizes the marronage*, yellow symbolizes the working class and red symbolizes the period of slavery and indentured labor, struck by a yellow star with five points.
The reunion regional council also appeared to use a white flag with a blue island and yellow sun, and below it is the text "Region Reunion" and five colored squares to represent equality and diversity.
*Maroons are descendants of Africans in the Americas who formed settlements away from slavery. They often mixed with indigenous peoples, eventually evolving into separate creole cultures such as the Garifuna and the Mascogos.
The official language on Reunion Island is French; the same French spoken and written in metropolitan France. However, the population also speaks Creole, a language that has developed since the island was settled. It has inherited linguistic traits from all the different populations that make up the population of Reunion Island including French, Malagasy, African, and Indian.
Asian minority languages in Reunion Island include Chinese, Cantonese, and Mandarin, but many of these speakers are of older generations. Younger citizens tend to converse in French and Reunionese Creole as the country has evolved.
The predominant religion is Christianity, notably Roman Catholicism, with a single (Latin Rite) jurisdiction, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saint-Denis-de-La Réunion.
Most towns’ names testify to the presence of Catholicism on the island. Churches are crowded every Sunday and for every holiday in the Catholic calendar.
Religious Intelligence estimates Christians to be 86.9% of the population, followed by Hindus (6.7%) and Muslims (3.2%).
And a minority of Chinese folk religions and Buddhism are also represented, among others.