La Réunion belongs to the Mascarene Archipelago and is located in the Indian Ocean, about 760 km east of Madagascar. Almost 10,000 km separate the Department of Outre-Mer (DOM) from metropolitan France.
At 2,517 km2, La Réunion is about the same size as Saarland. From coast to coast, the island measures between 50 to 70 km.
About 766,200 people live on La Réunion. About 80 percent of the population lives along the coast. The capital Saint-Denis in the north of the island alone has around 160,000 inhabitants. Six other cities have more than 20,000 inhabitants: the capital of the south is Saint-Pierre with around 60,000 inhabitants, followed by Saint-Paul (72,000), Le Tampon (48,000), Saint-Louis (37,000), Saint-André (35,000) and Saint-Benoît (26,000).
The population in La Réunion is growing much faster than in metropolitan France. The population growth rate is 1.42%. Almost a third of the population is under the age of 15.
La Réunion appeared on the surface of the sea about three million years ago as a result of volcanic activity. The base of the island lies at a depth of about 4,000 m. Due to the drifting apart of the African and Indian continental plates, magma has been emerging from the earth’s crust here for about five million years.
The birth volcano Piton de Neige has been extinct for many thousands of years. At 3,069 m, it is the highest elevation of the entire Indian Ocean. The 2,631m high Piton de la Fournaise in the southeast of the island is still active today. During its eruptions, lava flows flow towards the sea, a natural spectacle that attracts many people.
Is Réunion an African country?
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