Réunion is an insular region of France located in the Indian Ocean. It is situated east of Madagascar and about 175 kilometres (109 mi) southwest of Mauritius, the nearest island. As of 2014, its population numbered 844,994 inhabitants.
The island has been inhabited since the 17th century, when people from Europe (mostly France), Madagascar and Africa settled there. Slavery was abolished on 20 December 1848 (a date celebrated yearly on the island), after which indentured workers were brought from South India, among other places. The island became an overseas department of France in 1946.
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