A Brief History of
The island of Réunion has a history similar to that of Mauritius and was visited, but not settled, by early Malay, Arab and European mariners. The archipelago, comprised of Mauritius, Rodrigues and Réunion, was christened the Mascarenes by Portuguese navigator Pedro de Mascarenhas, following its European discovery in 1512. In 1642 the French settled the island when La Compagnie des Indes Orientales (the French East India Company) sent its ship, the St-Louis
, and the King of France named it ile Bourbon. At the end of the seventeenth century, the population could be divided into white French landowners and African and Malagasy slaves.