Cruising to 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

Location: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar
Geographic coordinates: 21 06 S, 55 36 E
Map references: World
Area: total: 2,517 sq km

Coastline

207 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

Tropical, but temperature moderates with elevation; cool and dry (May to November), hot and rainy (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

Economy

The economy has traditionally been based on agriculture, but services now dominate. 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 one-third 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 illustrated the seriousness of socioeconomic tensions. The economic well-being of Reunion depends heavily on continued financial assistance from France.

Transportation

Airports: 2 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2005)
Roadways: total: 1,214 km (including 88 km of four-lane roads) (2001)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Le Port

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Bahrain - Christmas Islands - Cocos Keeling - Comoros - Djibouti - Eritrea - India - Jordan - Kenya - Kuwait - Madagascar - Maldives - Mauritius - Mayotte - Mozambique - Oman - Pakistan - Qatar - Reunion Island - Saudi Arabia - Seychelles - Somalia - Sri Lanka - Sudan - Tanzania - United Arab Emirates - Yemen

Further Reading

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