Ile De La Reunion, an island in the Indian ocean, belonging to France, between lat. 20° 50' and 21° 24' S., and lon. 52° 56' and 53° 34' E., 120 W. S. W. of Mauritius and about 410 m. E. of Madagascar; area, about 970 sq. m.; pop. in 1868, 212,536, about one sixth whites, and the rest chiefly negroes and coolies. The island is formed of two volcanic mountain ranges. The high central plateaus are known as la plaine des Psalmistes and la plaine des Cafres. The highest and northernmost peak, the Piton des Neiges, is more than 10,000 ft. high. In the south is the Piton de Fournaise, an active volcano, about 7,000 ft. high; the Gros Morne volcano is extinct. The climate is salubrious despite the great summer heats, violent hurricanes, and fevers. A girdle road finished in 1854 extends over 100 m. in the interior of the island. There are no navigable rivers, but many torrents and several lakes. The staple product is sugar, besides which the chief exports are molasses, coffee, cacao, and cloves. Horses, cattle, grain, rice, wines, beer, oils, salt fish, and other articles are imported.
The chief commerce is with France. Since August, 1873, all foreign goods except tobacco are liable to only the same duties as those from France. The arrivals in 1873 comprised 185 French and 21 foreign vessels, and the total trade with France is estimated at about 36,000,000 francs. - The island was discovered in 1505 by the Portuguese Mascarenhas, whose name it bore till 1642, when the French took it and called it Bourbon. The English occupied it from 1810 to 1815, when it was restored to France. It was called Réunion during the revolution and the first empire, and Bourbon from the restoration till 1848, since which it has again been called Réunion. Slavery was abolished in 1848. The island is administered by a governor and a council of 30 members, the latter elected by the resident French. It is divided into the arrondissements du Vent and sous le Vent. The chief towns are St. Denis, the capital, St. Paul, and St. Benoît.