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The island is 39 miles (63 kilometers) long, is 28 miles (45 kilometers) wide, and covers 970 square miles (2512 square kilometres). The island is similar to the big island of Hawaii because both are located above hotspots in the Earth's crust.

Piton de la Fournaise, a shield volcano on the eastern end of Réunion Island, rises more than 8565 feet (2611 meters) above sea level and is sometimes called a sister to Hawaiian volcanoes because of the similarity of climate and volcanic nature, has erupted more than 100 times since 1640 and is under constant monitoring. It most recently erupted on December 26, 2005. La Fournaise is created by a hot spot volcano, which also created the Piton des Neiges and the islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues.

Piton des Neiges volcano, the highest point on the island at 10069 feet (3070 meters) above sea level, is northwest of Piton de la Fournaise volcano. Collapsed calderas and canyons are southwest of the mountain. Like Mauna Kea on the big island of Hawaii, Piton des Neiges is extinct. Despite its name, snow practically never falls on the summit.

The slopes of both volcanoes are heavily forested. Cultivated land and cities like the capital city of Saint-Denis are concentrated on the surrounding coastal lowlands.

Brief History of Reunion

Arab sailors used to call this island Dina Morgabin ("Western Island"). The Portuguese were the first Europeans to visit the island, finding it uninhabited in 1513, and naming it Santa Apollonia.

The island was then occupied by the French and administered from Port-Louis, Mauritius. Although the French flag was hoisted by François Cauche in 1638, Santa Apollonia was officially claimed by Jacques Pronis of France in 1642, when he deported a dozen French mutineers to the island from Madagascar. The convicts were returned to France several years later, and in 1649, the King of France Louis XIII named the island Île Bourbon after his royal house.

"Réunion" was the name given to the island in 1793 by a decree of the Convention 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 August 10, 1792. In 1801, the island was renamed "Île Bonaparte," after Napoleon Bonaparte. The island was taken by the British navy 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 of "Bourbon" until 1848, when the fall of the restored Bourbons during the revolutions during that year meant that the island became "Réunion" once again.

Information provided by Wikipedia

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Public Holidays in Reunion
January 1 - New Year's Day
April 9 - Easter Monday
May 1 - Labour Day
May 8 - Victory Day
May 17 - Ascension Day
July 14 - National Day
August 15 - Assumption Day
November 1 - All Saints' Day
November 11 - Armistice Day
December 20 - Abolition Day
December 25 - Christmas Day