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Literature on the History of East Africa
Mauritius Seychelles
First posted on July 2nd 2002, last revised on November 7th 2010

History of Reunion : Narrative . References : Online Secondary Sources . Online Primary Sources . Bibliographic and Print Sources

1642-1814 . 1814-1946 . 1946-1973 . since 1973

Isle de Bourbon, 1642-1814
Early visitors, the Arabs and the Portuguese (Portuguese discovery 1635), used the island belonging to the Mascarenes, together with Mauritius and Rodrigues to supply their provisions. Reunion was uninhabited until settled by the French in 1642, as a Penal Colony. Later it became possession of the French East India Company; a plantation economy was introduced, Coffee the main crop, slaves from Africa introduced. Saint Denis, the island's capital, was the main stopover for French vessels sailing from Europe to India and vice versa until the French took possession of Mauritius, abandoned by the Dutch, in 1715.
In 1700, with a French Bourbon claiming the Spanish crown, French piracy in the Caribbean was no more suitable. French pirates moved on to Reunion, from where they sailed out to prey on merchant ships coming from India and China.
In 1810, a British fleet took the island; the British returned Reunion, as it was called since the French Revolution, to France in 1814 as a compensation for France's cession of Mauritius.

Reunion, 1814-1946
In 1814, Britain, which had occupied Reunion in 1810, returned the island to French administration. Piracy was no more an option, as the British held nearby Mauritius and controlled the world's oceans. The cultivation of coffee had become unprofitable; Sugar Cane became the major plantation crop. In 1814 France annexed Tromelin Island; the uninhabited island was administrated from Reunion.
The abolition of slavery in 1848 posted a major obstacle, as the workforce had to be replaced. For this purpose, indentured workers were brought in from India, later from French Indochina.
Reunion began issuing stamps in 1852 and continued to do so until 1946, when it became an Overseas Departement.
The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 had a detrimental effect on Reunion's economy, as French merchant vessels sailing from France to India, Indochina and East Asia did not call at the port of St. Denis any more.

Reunion, 1946-1973
In 1946, Reunion was declared an Overseas Department of France, thus ceased to be a colony. The island is represented in France's parliament. When France introduced a currency reform in 1959, the old currency was continued on Reunion as elsewhere in France's African possessions. French stamps used on Reunion were overprinted with a value in CFA (French African Francs); only in 1967 was the New Franc currency introduced in Reunion. In 1968, a number of uninhabited islands - Bassas da India, Europa, Juan de Nova and the Iles Glorieuses, located to the west resp. north of Madagascar, were placed under the administration of Reunion. These islands had been French since 1892/1897.

Reunion since 1973
A French overseas department since 1946, the population of Reunion felt dominated by France's traditionally centralist administration. In 1973 the island was declared an Administative Region, which meant it was granted a degree of political autonomy within the French Republic. The island assembly is called Conseil General, has 47 members ; elections are held every 6 years.

Historical Atlas, Reunion Page

Country Profiles . Links . Organizations . Accounts of History . Politics . Military History . Economic History . Social History . Ethnography
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Country Profiles Modern from CIA World Factbook; BBC Country Profiles
Article : Reunion, from Wikipedia
Historical C. Mathieu, Petite geographie de l'Afrique en general et des possessions françaises de la cote orientale en particulier : ile de la Reunion, Madagascar, Ste-Marie de Madagascar, Mayotte, Nossi-Be, Obock, etc 1884, Gallica
R. Piolet et al., Empire colonial de la France. Madagascar, la Reunion, Mayotte, les Comores, Djibouti 1900, Gallica
C. Keller, Madagascar, Mauritius and the other East-African Islands, 1901, IA; on Reunion pp.178-189
Links General from African Studies at UPenn; from Library of Congress, Portals to the World
Category : Reunion, from Wikipedia
Categorie : La Reunion, from Wikipedia French edition
on History Category : History of Reunion, from Wikipedia
Categorie : Histoire de La Reunion, from Wikipedia French edition
Timelines by J.M. Regnier
Article : Histoire de La Reunion (Chronology), from Wikipedia French edition
Timetable of Reunion History, by Corinne Narrassiguin
Accounts of History from Wikipedia
Politics Politics of Reunion, from Wikipedia; Political Resources on the Net : Reunion
Economy & Finances Article Economy of Tonga, from Wikipedia
Entry Reunion, from Global History of Currencies, by Bryan Taylor; Currency Boards and Dollarization by Kurt Schuler; click for Reunion
Article Economy of Reunion, from Wikipedia
Categorie : Histoire Economique de La Reunion, from Wikipedia French edition
History of the Distillerie de Savanna; Reunion, from Ministry of Rum
Social History J. Morel, Calendrier des crimes de la France outre-mer, 2005 : 19 mars 1831: Esclaves a vendre (Ile de la Reunion)
Ethnography Languages of Reunion (3), from Ethnologue
Religion Chronology of Catholic Dioceses : Reunion, from Kirken i Norge
La Reunion, from Virtual Jewish History Tour
History of Regions Arrondissements of Reunion, from www.statoids.com
Communes of Reunion, from www.statoids.com
J.M. Merklin, Countries and Territories of the 20th Century, 2009 : Colonie française de la Reunion 1900-07-08, 1908-07-08, 1918-07-08, 1928-07-08, 1938-07-08, Departement d'outre-mer français de la Reunion 1948-07-08, 1958-07-08, 1968-07-08, Region d'outre-mer française de la Reunion 1978-07-08, 1988-07-08, 1998-07-08, 2008-07-08
Local History Communes of the Reunion Department, from Wikipedia
History of St. Denis, from Wikipedia
Institutions Structurae : Reunion, Lighthouses of Reunion, from The Lighthouse Directory
Reunion, from Airline History
Hans Meyer, Die Eisenbahnen im Tropischen Afrika (The Railroads in Tropical Africa), Leipzig : Duncker & Humblot 1902, in German, posted by DTBSWS, chapter Reunion, pp.163-164
Biographies African Women Bibliographic Database
Dictionary of African Christian Biography
Environmental History
Others Afrotropic Ecoregion, from WWF

Historical Data . Statistical Data . Documents Newspapers . Yearbooks . Image Databanks . Archival Deposits . Laws . Historiography
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Historical Data Lists of Statesmen from World Statesmen (B. Cahoon), from Rulers (B. Schemmel)
Lists of Bishops
Population Figures from Population Statistics (Jan Lahmeyer)
Election Results
Documents Historical Newspapers History of Reunion, from World History Archives
Modern Newspapers Newspapers and News Media : Reunion, from ABYZ (links)
Online Yearbooks - Reunion Entries Statesman's Year-Book, Reunion 1890, pp.509-510, IA, 1891, pp.513-514, IA, 1892, p.521, IA, 1894, p.521, IA, 1895, p.521, IA, 1896, p.521, IA, 1898, p.519, IA, 1899, p.561, IA, 1903, p.624, IA, 1913, p.835, IA, 1919, p.868, IA, 1921, p.894, IA
Image Databanks Wikimedia Commons
License Plates, from Francoplaque, from License Plates around the World
Airline Timetable Images : Reunion
Archival Deposits
Consular Reports
Document Surveys Ch.12 : De Scriptoribus Rerum Africanarum et Americanarum, pp.263-273, in B.G. Struve, Selecta bibliotheca historica, 1705, in Latin, GB ; a catalogue of narrative historical sources
Scriptores de insulis Bourbon et France pp.209-211 in vol.3 pt.1 of B.G. Struve/J.G. Meusel, Bibliotheca historica 1787, in Latin, GB
Document Collections
Historical Maps Maps of Reunion, from Corinne Narrassiguin
Encyclopedia Entries
Secular Article Reunion, EB 1911, from Classic Encyclopedia, Internet Archive Wayback Machine
Article Reunion, from Meyers Konversationslexikon 1885-1892, in German
Economic J. Chr. Nelkenbrecher, Allgemeines Taschenbuch der Münz-, Maass- und Gewichtskunde für Banquiers und Kaufleute (General Manual on Coinage, Measurement and Weights, for Bankers and Merchants) Berlin 1832, in German, entries Maskarenen, posted by DTBSWS
Geographical Reunion p.356 in J. MacFarlane, Economic geography, c. 1910, GB
Parliamentary Debates Hansard (British Parliament)
Institutions Archives Reunion : Archives Departementales, from genealogie.com
Musea Museums in Reunion, from International Council of African Museums
Official Symbols Flags, Coats of Arms Flag, from FOTW; Coat of Arms, from International Civic Heraldry
Coins, Banknotes Banknotes of Reunion, from World Currency Museum, from Ron Wise's World Paper Money
Reunion coins from World Coin Gallery
Stamps Rare Reunion Stamps, from Sandafayre Stamp Gallery; Reunion Stamps 1851-1905, from Stamps Catalogue 1840-1920 by Evert Klaseboer

Bibliographies . Online Libraries . Thesis Servers . Online Journals . General Accounts . Specific Topics . Historical Dictionaries . Statistical Data . Yearbooks
Bibliographies RHS Bibliography, search for Reunion
Datenbasis Internationale Beziehungen und Länderkunde (Data Base on International Relations and Country Studies), keyword Reunion (site in German, most titles listed in English; hundreds of entries; publications mostly since 1970)
Reunion-Bibliographie, from Afrika-Handbuch, at Univ. of Vienna
Online Libraries General Gutenberg Library Online, Internet Archive
Persee (French search engine)
Thesis Server Open Access Theses and Dissertations
Online Journals On the Indian Ocean
General Accounts
Specific Topics
Historical Dictionaries
Statistical Data IHS : B.R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics. Africa, Asia & Oceania 1750-2000, London : Palgrave 2003 [G]
Yearbook Entries Article : Reunion, in : Statesman's Year Book 1895 p.521, 1898 p.519, 1901 p.597, 1905 pp.658-659, 1910 p.803, 1919 p.868, 1924 p.917, 1925 pp.928-929, 1926 pp.901-902, 1928 p.917, 1929 pp.903-905, 1932 pp.905-907, 1937 pp.946-947 [G]
Article : Reunion, in : Americana Annual 1927 p.741, 1928 p.678, 1930 p.662, 1931 p.655, 1932 p.618, 1933 p.666, 1934 pp.508-509, 1935 p.610, 1936 p.630, 1937 p.614 [G]
Article : Reunion, or Bourbon, in : Americana Annual 1938 pp.597-598, 1939 p.671, 1940 p.675 [G]
Article : Reunion Island, in : International Year Book 1898 p.668 [G]
Article : French Colonial Empire, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1946 pp.329-330, 1947 pp.344-345 [G]
Article : French Overseas Territories, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1948 pp.330-332, 1949 pp.287-290 [G]
Article : Reunion, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1951 pp.599-600, 1953 p.608, 1954 p.609, 1955 p.658, 1956 p.596, 1957 p.658, 1958 p.593, 1959 p.591, 1960 p.592, 1961 pp.600-601, 1962 p.592, 1963 p.695 [G]
Articles Colonies and Other Dependencies; French Community, from : Britannica Book of the Year 1964 pp.265-268, 381-382, 1965 pp.254, 376 [G]
Articles Colonies and Other Dependencies : Reunion, from : Britannica Book of the Year 1966 p.205, 1967 pp.219-220, 1968 p.218, [G]
Article Dependent States : Reunion, from : Britannica Book of the Year 1969 p.279, 1970 p.279, 1971 p.269, 1972 p.241, 1973 p.232 [G]
Article : France : Reunion, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1943 pp.931-933, 1970-1971 pp.922-923 [G]
Article : Reunion, in : Americana Annual 1943 p.631, 1944 p.609, 1945 p.622, 1946 pp.642-643, 1947 p.614, 1957 p.673, 1962 p.647, 1963 pp.574-575, 1964 p.571 [G]
Reunion p.137, in : Year Book and Guide to East Africa 1963 [G]
Article Dependent States : Reunion, from : Britannica Book of the Year 1974 p.249, 1976 pp.249-250, 1977 p.250, 1978 p.303, 1979 p.304, 1980 p.302, 1981 p.302, 1982 p.296, 1983 p.296, 1984 p.292 (on events in 1983) [G]
Article Reunion, from : Britannica Book of the Year 1985 p.765, 1988 p.684, 1990 p.700, 1993 p.698, 1994 p.697, 1995 p.697 [G]
Article : France : Overseas Departements : Reunion, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1975-1976 pp.937-938, 1978-1979 pp.480-482, 1980-1981 pp.482-483, 1983-1984 pp.493-495, 1984-1985 pp.492-493, 1985-1986 pp.493-495, 1987-1988 pp.500-502, 1988-1989 pp.502-504, 1989-1990 pp.506-508, 1990-1991 pp.505-507, 1991-1992 pp.505-507, 1992-1993 pp.576-578, 1993-1994 pp.583-585, 1994-1995 pp.574-576, 1995-1996 pp.572-574, 1996-1997 pp.511-513, 1997-1998 pp.519-521, 1998-1999 pp.565-567, 2000 pp.651-653, 2001 pp.629-631, 2002 pp.655-658, 2003 pp.658-660, 2004 pp.657-660, 2005 pp.659-661 [G]
Article : Reunion, in : The World in Figures 1st ed. 1976 pp.87-88, 2nd ed. 1978 pp.87-88, 4th ed. 1984 pp.87-88 [G]

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