The World at War

RÉUNION 1638 -1946

RÉUNION Timeline

1638Captain Gaubert of Dieppe takes possession of the uninhabited island of Mascarenhas for France.
1643Jacques Pronis of La Compagnie des Indes (Indies Company) in Madagascar, formally annexes Mascarenhas in the name of Louis XIII.
1646Jacques Pronis deports a dozen mutineers from Madagascar to Mascarenhas. The island's first inhabitants remain there for three years.
1649Étienne de Flacourt, Pronis’ successor as agent of the Indies Company in Madagascar, lands at La Possession and issues another declaration taking possession of Mascarenhas which he renames the Ile Bourbon for France.
1664August 27 La Compagnie des Indes Orientales de Madagascar (East Indies Company of Madagascar) is created by letters patent which granted it a perpetual concession over Ile Bourbon, "to enjoy in all propriety, lordliness and justice". Étienne Regnault is chosen to lead the Company's colonization effort.
1665July 10 Commandant Étienne Régnault and 20 laborers employed by the East Indies Company arrive at Saint Paul aboard the Taureau following a 4 month voyage.
1667March Admiral François de Lopis, Marquis de Mondevergue, weighs anchor at Ile Bourbon where he drops off 5 women sent by Finance Minister Jean Baptiste Colbert as part of his colonization scheme.
1669Étienne Régnault builds a house at the future site of Saint Denis.
1671April 27 A French military expedition under Vice Admiral and Lieutenant General Jacob de la Haye anchors off Saint Denis.
May 5 General de la Haye issues a proclamation before the assembled inhabitants of Saint Denis taking possession of Ile Bourbon for King Louis XIV.
May 9 General de la Haye departs Ile Bourbon leaving Jacques de la Heure behind to replace the departing Étienne Régnault as governor.
September 16 – October 21 Governor de la Heure, having succumbed to alcohol and the tropical heat, opposes the docking of Captain Duclos’ ship Breton at Saint Denis. De la Heure refuses to supply the ship and 27 sailors aboard are allowed to die.
1671 – 1674 Governor de la Heure reserves the right to trade with passing ships to himself, prohibits consumption of poultry or pork without his permission and bans hunting. Mistreated slaves plan a rebellion at the Ravine a Malheur between Saint Denis and Saint Paul but are betrayed and executed.
An observation of the governor’s adjutant, Véron, draws de la Heure’s wrath. Véron is shot and his body mutilated. Colonists and slaves abandon their homes and flee to the interior. Some travel as far as Saint Louis and Grand Bois to escape sadistic de la Heure.
1674November General de la Haye returns to Ile Bourbon. Governor de la Heure is removed from command, arrested and sent back to France in irons. There he is tried for the murder of Véron and executed. Gil Launay is sent inform the refugees in the interior and order their return to the coast.
December 1 General de la Haye issues an ordinance on the administrative organization of the colony. Henry d’Orgeret is appointed governor and left behind with Germain de Fleurimond as his lieutenant and Father Bonnet to administer the sacraments.
1675News of a massacre at Fort Dauphin, Madagascar raises hopes among Malagasy slaves on Ile Bourbon who plan to kill all the Frenchmen with the exception of the surgeon and the priest. The plot is uncovered and the leaders executed. Many slaves flee to the interior from where they continue to harass the settlements.
1667Rats arrive on ships. They devour the crops and contaminate the stores bringing famine to Ile Bourbon.
1678June 17 Governor Henry d’Oregeret dies of exhaustion and demoralization. His lieutenant Germain de Fleurimond assumes command of the colony.
1680January Germain de Fleurimond dies under mysterious circumstances. Officially, he drowns while fishing. Father Bernardin, a Capuchin priest who arrived with General de la Haye in 1674, is elected commandant by his fellow colonists. Father Bernardin brings an end to the almost constant fighting with escaped slaves that plagued his predecessor’s term of office.
1686December 2 Father Bernardin convinces Jean-Baptiste Drouillard to take command of the colony. Drouillard who made a fortune as a trader in India had stopped at Ile Bourbon in hopes of recovering his health before returning to France.
1687January 15 Governor Drouilliard issues an ordinance establishing a game reserve in the south of the island and limiting hunting of goats and tortoise to one day a week. The act leads to mutiny among the French colonists. His hold on power rests in the confidence of Father Camenheim and a guard of Dutch and Portuguese colonists.
1689May 5 A party of Huguenot colonists financed by the Marquis Henri Duquesne and led by Habert de Vauboulon is dispatched to Ile Bourbon. France fears immanent war with England and hopes to curry favor with the Dutch who are established in nearby Mauritius.
December 9 Angry colonists burn the home of Governor Drouillard who escapes Ile Bourbon aboard a Portuguese ship. Drouillard reaches France where he is arrested on a libel complaint.
December 11 The Huguenot's arrive at Ile Bourbon aboard a squadron of ships commanded by Abraham Duquesne-Guiton. Habert de Vauboulon assumes the governorship in the name of the King and the Company. De Vauboulon's dictatorial and libidinous rule drives many of the inhabitants into the hinterlands.
December 31 The Indies Company ship Saint Jean Baptiste sinks during a storm. The Company decides to abandon its interests in Ile Bourbon.
1690November 26 Governor de Vauboulon is arrested at the instigation of Father Hyacinthe and Michel Firelin. The governor is seized in the chapel of Saint Louis and imprisoned. Michel Firelin assumes command of the colony. Firelin fails to take action against colonists who plunder the East Indies Company’s stores and Ile Bourbon becomes a haven for pirates.
1692August 18 Habert de Vauboulon is poisoned by a deadly bouillon prepared by surgeon Royer.
1693August 11 Sieurs de Prades and Lemayer assume temporary command of the colony after Michel Firelin flees into the bush to escape the wrath of the criminal element. A short while later a Directory of 6 elected officials from Saint Paul is formed to administer the island. Firelin eventually makes his way to India.
1696July 2 Count de Serquigny arrives at Ile Bourbon with a four ship squadron. De Serquigny launches an investigation into the island's strange political situation and the circumstances surrounding the death of Governor de Vauboulon. The conspirators are arrested and returned to France for trial.
August 1 Count de Serquigny installs his Captain of Arms, Joseph Bastide, as Provisional Commander of Ile Bourbon. De Serquigny orders Bastide to inform him as to, "the number and names of the heads of household on Ile Bourbon, their age, the number of their children of any sex, slaves, dwellings and cattle".
August Count de Serquigny departs leaving behind Abbot Jean d'Etchémendy, former chaplain of the Médembick, who undertakes the evangelization of Ile Bourbon’s slaves.
1698April 14 Newly appointed Governor Jacques de la Cour departs Lorient for Ile Bourbon accompanied by his servant Pierre Parny and two ecclesiastics Fathers Henri Roulleaux de la Vante and Golvin Calvarin.
1699An English ship offers the sale of 16 slaves during a stop at Ile Bourbon.
The Directors of the East Indies Company consider the sale of Ile Bourbon to the Portuguese in return for 100,000 gold ecus or trading post in India.
1701June 12 Jean Baptist de Villiers becomes Governor of Ile Bourbon. Under his administration agricultural development takes a favorable turn. De Villiers grants new concessions and regulates slavery. Free trade is allowed between the colonist but the ban on trade with pirates and passing ships is retained.
1703Cardinal Legate Thomas Maillard of Tournon visits Ile Bourbon during a voyage to China. Governor de Villiers order the inhabitants to attend mass or be fined and presides over the laying of the cornerstone for the Church of Saint Paul.
1707The Government of Pondichéry launches a loan of 150,000 ecus which is taken up within 24 hours by Bourbonais grown rich on the trade with pirates.
1709March 7 Michel François Des Bordes, Sieur De Charenville, is installed as provisional administrator at the behest of Sieur Hébert, a Director of the East Indies Company.
1711Sugarcane is introduced by Pierre Parat and becomes the island’s staple crop.
March 7 Louis XIV establishes a provincial council to administer justice on Ile Bourbon. The Council is composed of 5 members in civil cases and 7 in criminal proceedings. The members include resident directors of the East Indies Company, the Governor, priests (in civil cases only), company traders and other appointees of the governor.
1712December 22 The East Indies Company signs a convention with the Lazarist Fathers to provide Ile Bourbon with a stable clergy.
1715September Six Mocha coffee plants are brought to Ile Bourbon from Yemen.
November 11 Native coffee bushes are found growing on Ile Bourbon.
November 14 Governor Antoine de Parat de Chaillenest and a young Creole named Dalleau depart for France aboard the Auguste to inform the Directors of the East Indies Company that native coffee plants have been discovered on Ile Bourbon. The interview persuades the directors to renew the company’s concession on the island for an additional 10 years.
December 4 Provisional Governor Henri de Justamond convenes the Provincial Council to approve a decree requiring every man over the age of 15 to plant 100 coffee bushes. The inhabitants of Ile Bourbon accept the wild flavor of Bourbon or Maroon Coffee but the customers in Europe prefer the coffee grown in the Antilles on true coffee bushes imported from Arabia. Desforges Boucher joins Champion and Duronguët Toullec in launching Operation Café for the purpose of creating a 7,800 plant seedbed of Arabian coffee bushes at Saint Paul.
1717January 11 The Navy Council decides that the governor, a navy officer, will be assisted by an aide de camp holding the rank of lieutenant governor, a major and an assistant medical officer.
1718November 24 The Navy Council orders Major Champion to survey the most practicable route for a mountain road connecting Saint Paul and Saint Denis.
1720The Navy Council’s proposed administrative structure is put in place coincidentally with the installation of a new East Indies Company formed after the bankruptcy of Colbert’s original East Indies Company.
1721January 10 Governor de Beauvollier issues regulations organizing the pirate settlement on Ile Bourbon.
1722The Governor of Pondichéry which has passed Ile Bourbon as a producer sets the price of coffee at 8 sous per pound.
1723August 31 The East Indies Company is granted a monopoly on the coffee trade with France.
1724September 23 The High Council of the Ile Bourbon created by an edict of December 1723 takes office.
1726May 31 A provincial council, subordinate to the High Council of Ile Bourbon, takes office on the Isle de France (Mauritius).
1727January 29 Regulations for the civil and military administration of the Ile Bourbon and the Isle de France alternate the seat of government between the two islands for six month periods.
May 27 The Governor of Ile Bourbon Hélie Dioré departs to assume the governorship of Ile de France.
July 21 Pierre - Benoit Dumas is appointed Governor of Ile Bourbon and initiates the colonization of island's southern shore. Dumas grants 244 concessions between the Ravine du Gol and the Ravine des Remparts during his term.
1730June 16 Governor Dumas instructs Pierre Boisson and Abraham Muron to begin construction of a 30 kilometer Mountain Road connecting Saint Denis and La Possession.
July The price of coffee falls to 6 sous per pound.
1733May 15 Governor Dumas approves Paradis’ plan for the district of Saint Denis.
August 3 Governor Dumas instructs Delisle and Rivière to open the Sainte Marie - Saint Benoit section of the Mountain Road and the road connecting Saint Paul with the new concession of Rivière d'Abord.
August 26 Governor Dumas grants 48 concessions along Rivière d'Abord to facilitate his plan to create a town, Saint Pierrois, and hires Antoine de Bavière to design its urban plan.
1735June 4 Ile Bourbon is placed under the jurisdiction of the Governor of Mauritius, Bertrand François Mahé, Comte de La Bourdonnais.
December 31 The High Council of Ile Bourbon reports to the East Indies Company that it made a 100% profit on European merchandise, 50% on goods exported from the Indies and 260% on Black slaves.
1736Commandant Charles Dumont introduces paper currency to Ile Bourbon. He authorizes a banknote issue of 360,000 francs of which 300,000 francs are backed by coffee production.
1737Commandant Dumont imposes a head tax of 20 sous per slave to finance public works and continue the development of Ile Bourbon's road system.
1738Saint Denis where new harbor installations including the Pont Volant have been built becomes the new capital of Ile Bourbon.
The price of coffee falls to 5 sous per pound.
1741April 11 The East Indies Company declares that the rice and sugar trade has no future.
June 27 The East Indies Company’s monopoly on trade with the Indies is lifted.
1742January 1 France allows free trade with the countries of the Indian Ocean. The East Indies Company’s monopoly is abolished.
May 2 Commandant d'Héguerty discards Paradis’ plan for the development of Saint Denis. He approves a new plan drawn up by Guyomar, "where all the land previously reserved for the East Indies Company is conceded to the Councilors, employees or others" to the personal profit of the Commandant.
June 26 The silkworm is introduced to Ile Bourbon.
November 28 Planting of new coffee bushes is prohibited on Ile Bourbon.
1743February 23 The East Indies Company reproaches Commandant Pierre Andre d'Héguerty for inattention to quality after coffee shipped to France arrives spoiled by seawater.
August 8 Coffee quotas are introduced on the Ile Bourbon. The East Indies Company agrees to take only a third of the island’s production.
1744November 22 The East Indies Company announces the declaration of war between France and Great Britain.
1746March 12 The East Indies Company orders Commandant d’Héguerty to cancel the Guyomar Plan for development of Saint Denis and to compensate the land owners from his own funds.
March 30 The East Indies Company decides to end Governor Labourdonnais experiment with free trade in Isle de France and Ile Bourbon. The importation or sale of blackmarket goods from Europe, China and Indies is prohibited and subject to a fine of 1,000 piasters.
1747December 31 An ordinance allowing free trade with the Indian Ocean countries is suspended and an inspector of ships is sent out from Lorient to enforce the East Indies Company's monopoly.
1754March 2 France resumes a free trade policy with the countries of the Indian Ocean.
1764August 4 The East Indies Company is pronounced bankrupt and forced to retrocede Ile Bourbon and Mauritius to King Louis XV for the sum of £7,625,348.
1765May 12 Commissioners charged with liquidation of the East Indies Company's assets arrive at Ile Bourbon.
May 17 The East Indies Company returns Mauritius, Ile Bourbon and the Port of Lorient to the French Crown.
1766June An edict abolishes the High Council created in 1724 and replaces it with another which no longer has an administrative or legislative function.
September 25 A royal ordinance conveys administration of Ile Bourbon and Isle de France to a Governor General residing on the Isle de France to act as the King’s representative and military commander and an Intendant. The Intendant directs the courts, police and finances. Ile Bourbon will have a residing Governor and an Intendant.
During the Year A Land Tribunal composed of the Governor, the Intendant and four members of the High Council is established by ordinance to settle property disputes and regulate water distribution, fishing and construction of roads.
1767July 14 The East Indies Company's retrocession of Ile Bourbon and Mauritius to the King becomes effective. Ile Bourbon comes under the direct control of the Crown and free trade is granted.
November 1 Pierre Guillaume Sarrazin of Bellecome, the first royal governor, arrives at Ile Bourbon.
1769November 25 District delegates meet in Saint Denis to discuss the colony's problems. A proposal to appoint a deputy to represent Ile Bourbon in Paris wins unanimous approval. Monsieur de Saint Janvier is appointed to the post.
1771October A Court of Royal jurisdiction composed of a chief justice, associate judge, a prosecutor and a clerk is established to adjudicate all criminal and civil affairs as court of first recourse. Appeals are heard by the High Council.
During the Year The East Indies Company’s holding’s on Ile Bourbon are liquidated. The stores are valued at £3,623,000.
1777March 8 Governor François de Souillac enacts an ordinance aimed at curbing the worst abuses of runaway slave hunters.
1779May 1 François de Souillac is appointed interim Governor General of the islands of Isle de France and Ile Bourbon.
August 28 A 3 sous coin is introduced in France end speculation in 2 sous coins from Isle de France and Ile Bourbon which the royal government has overvalued in an effort to increase their acceptance and facilitate domestic trade. The new coins are not legal tender in the islands.
1780January 30 Governor General François de Souillac requisitions 200 of the best slaves on Ile Bourbon for work in the royal workshops on the Isle de France.
1781Governor Joseph Murinay, Count de Saint Maurice, reconsiders the measures taken by his predecessor, François de Souillac, to curb the abuses of runaway slave hunters following a slave rebellion in the east of the island and the arrest of its leader Zélindor.
All paper money and other cash vouchers circulating on the Isle de France and Ile Bourbon are converted into receipts of the colonial treasury payable in four years by the General Treasurer of the Navy.
December 7 Captain Montvert leads a 174 man contingent of Ile Bourbon Volunteers to India for service in the Franco-English war.
1784June Joseph Chalvet, Baron de Souville, becomes the first governor to complete a trip around the island. The Governor travels along the shore from Saint-Benoît to Saint-Pierre in the company of Joseph Hubert, Chevalier Bancks, the King’s surveyor and several other notables.
December Governor Chalvet establishes the colony’s first postal service with twice weekly deliveries between Saint Denis, Saint Benoît and Saint Pierre.
1785January 1 The district of Saint Joseph is created on the initiative of Joseph Hubert.
1788January 1 The population of Ile Bourbon numbers 46,017 including 37,265 slaves; 7,833 European civilians and 919 free Negros.
During the Year Ile Bourbon exports 3,337,000 pounds of coffee. Other exports include cotton, rice and grain.
1789November 17 A revolutionary Corps of Volunteers is organized.
December 4 Governor David Charpentier de Cossigny authorize the district commanders to convene the population for the purpose of discussing the establishment of a colonial assembly for Ile Bourbon.
December 27 The inhabitants of Saint Denis call for the meeting of a single constituent assembly to represent the entire island.
1790March 8 The French National Assembly issues a decree calling for the establishment of a colonial assembly of Ile Bourbon.
May 25 The Constituent Assembly’s 134 deputies and 55 alternates meet for the first time in Saint Denis and declare themselves, "permanent and inviolable, to be dissolved only by decree of the French National Assembly...".
1790May 25 – October 5 The General Assembly divides the island into a Windward District composed of the parishes of Saint Denis, Sainte Marie, Sainte Suzanne, Saint André, Saint Benoit and Sainte Rose and a Leeward District composed of the parishes of Saint Paul, Saint Leu, Saint Louis, Saint Pierre and Saint Joseph. Each district is administered by an Administrative Assembly elected on an annual basis.
May 27 The Constituent Assembly declares itself permanent and inviolable.
July 23 The Constituent Assembly seizes legislative power and suppresses the general administration in favor of smaller ones particular to each parish or municipality.
Measures are enacted regulating the organization of the national guards, police force and municipalities and the circulation of the paper money.
July The text of the National Assembly decree calling for establishment of a colonial assembly reaches Ile Bourbon. The new assembly will be composed of 1 deputy for every 50 electors meeting local assemblies. The electorate is composed of males over age 25 resident on the island for 2 years and not indentured.
August 15 Governor General Thomas Conway resigns after involving himself in a plot to overthrown Ile Bourbon’s parliamentary regime. Governor David Charpentier de Cossigny departs Ile Bourbon to assume the Governor Generalship.
September 5 Governor General Charpentier de Cossigny announces the appointment of Colonel Prosper de Chermont as Governor of Ile Bourbon.
October 5 The Constituent Assembly retires to allow the installation of the Colonial Assembly. A commission of 5 members is appointed to ensure an orderly transition.
October 28 The first session of the Colonial Assembly opens in Saint Denis. The deputies from Saint Benoit are not in attendance. The district of Saint Andre is in a state of disorder and fails to elect a delegation. The deputies choose Saint Paul as the seat of the Colonial Assembly.
November 18 Captain Tirol of the Saint Denis National Guard delivers the files and archives of the Assembly to his Saint Paul counterpart, Captain Prievre, during a meeting at Grande Chaloupe.
December 15 The Colonial Assembly creates tribunals of conciliation with elected judges to replace the High Council and the Courts of Royal Jurisdiction.
1792March 12 The Colonial Assembly authorizes formation of a Committee of Revision to prepare a constitution outlining the administrative organization of the colony.
June 12 The Colonial Assembly requests the retention of Governor de Chermont. The request is ignored and the Bourbonais attempt to delay the installation of his successor Jean Baptiste du Plessis.
June 19 Governor du Plessis writes to Ile Bourbon from the Isle de France announcing his arrival. He also notes that he is attempting to prevent the introduction of smallpox by a merchant ship. The Colonial Assembly asks him to differ his voyage.
July 2 Governor du Plessis arrives in Saint Denis aboard the Minerve. His landing is opposed by local officials backed up by a corvette. Du Plessis orders the ship into quarantine at Praslin in the Seychelles.
October 4 The Minerve returns to Saint Denis Roadstead. Its passengers are held at Lazaret de la Ravine before being allowed to enter the capital.
October 19 Governor du Plessis finally assumes office.
1793March 16 The French Republic is proclaimed on Ile Bourbon.
March 19 The French Convention renames Ile Bourbon Reunion.
April 3 The High Council and the Royal Courts are replaced by an Appeals Tribunal and a Tribunal of First Instance presided over by elected judges.
June 22 The district administrative assemblies are suppressed by the Colonial Assembly and replaced by a Directory composed of 3 members and 2 alternates, a prosecutor and a substitute. Members of the directories are elected for 2 year terms and the prosecutor for a 4 year term by the Primary Assemblies.
Civil courts (Bureaux de Conciliation) composed of the mayor and 2 municipal officers are established in each town.
Seven tribunals of the peace with judges elected for 2 year terms are established as courts of first instance.
Separate criminal courts are established for the Windward and Leeward Districts.
October 28 Representation is the Colonial Assembly is reduced from 1 deputy per 50 electors to 1 per 100.
1794April 11 Pierre Alexandre Roubaud, an interim governor appointed by Governor General de Malartic, arrives from the Isle de France aboard the Minerve with orders to arrest Governor du Plessiss on suspicion of harboring royalist sympathies. Du Plessis is taken into custody and sent back to the Isle de France.
April 29 The Colonial Assembly authorizes formation of a Committee of Defense to prepare the island for an English attack.
June 20 The Colonial Assembly authorizes formation of a 7 member Committee of Surveillance and Public Security to supervise the civil service, to denounce those suspected of anti-revolutionary sentiment, issue warrants for the arrests of such suspects and seize their property.
September 1 The Corps of Volunteers is renamed the Volunteers of Reunion.
1796April 4 The Colonial Assembly authorizes formation of a Subsistence Committee to oversee food supplies.
May 15 Governor General de Malartic visits Reunion in an unsuccessful attempt to buy corn supplies for the Isle de France.
1798April Alexandre Belleville a former Sergeant of the Pondichery Regiment and Father Lafosse lead a march on Saint Denis by 1,000 rebels from the southern districts. They intend to overthrow the Colonial Assembly which they consider too timid. Governor Jacob de Cordemoy assumes command of the National Guard and defeats the insurgents. Fifteen rebels including the two leaders are deported from the Indies and dropped off in the Seychelles where they are authorized to settle on the island of La Digue.
June 5 The Directory is abolished by writ which institutes a new general organization for the colony. Administration passes into the hands of an Administrative Committee.
The General Administrative Agent is charged with executing the decisions of the committee and the Commissioner General of the Treasury.
1799February 12 Opponents of the Colonial Assembly riot in Saint Denis. Governor de Cordemoy's guard restores order and the leaders of the revolt are deported to Madagascar.
During the Year A third plot to overthrow the Colonial Assembly is hatched in Saint Andre by colonists opposed to the application of the Convention's decree of 16 Pluvoise, An II abolishing slavery throughout the French Empire. The conspirators plan to proclaim Reunion independent and place the island under British protection. The National Guard suppresses the rebellion and the leaders are deported to the Ile de Souers.
1801Reunion is renamed Ile Bonaparte.
January 7 The Tribunal of First Instance in the Windward District is suppressed.
March 11 The first Revolutionary Criminal Tribunal is established by writ.
August 12 Bory de Saint Vincent lands on Ile Bonaparte at the head of a scientific expedition to Australia. Saint Vincent explores the Piton de la Fournais previously visited by botanist Philibert Commerson and guide Jean Baptiste Lislet-Geoffroy.
1803February 2 A writ of the Consulate places Ile Bonaparte under the authority of the Captain General residing on the Isle de France. Administration of Ile Bonaparte is vested in a Lieutenant Governor for military affairs and a Sub-Prefect for civil affairs both are subordinate to the Captain General.
March 24 The Colonial Assembly is suppressed. Ile Bonaparte will have neither local nor imperial representation under the Empire.
March 27 General Francois Louis Magallon, Count de la Morliere, is named Governor of Ile Bonaparte. He approves the explusion of Baco and Burnel, two agents sent by the French Directory to enforce the decree abolishing slavery.
October 24 The Volunteers of Reunion are disbanded by order of Governor General Decaen and replaced by the Chasseurs de la Reunion.
December 3 A special tribunal charged with investigating crimes committed by slaves established.
During the Year A Consular Writ restores the 1792 judicial regime. The Court of Royal Jurisdiction is renamed the Tribunal of First Instance. The High Council is replaced by an appeals tribunal and the Land Tribunal is re-established.
1806January 3 General Nicolas Esnault des Brulys is named Governor of Ile Bonaparte.
August 15 The Royal Navy puts the finishing touch on the Emperor’s Festival with seizure of the the French ship Turlurette in the Saint Denis roadstead.
1807January 6 A month on nearly uninterrupted torrential rains ends leaving Ile Bonaparte scoured of soil down to bare rock.
February 21 A violent storm sinks several ships including several American vessels.
March 14 A cyclone complete's Ile Bonaparte's devastation destroying what little has managed to escape the preceding cataclysms.
1808The Appeals Tribunal is renamed the Court of Appeals by imperial decree.
1809August 16 British ships fire on houses and a battery at Saint Gilles then land troops at Sainte Rose. The town is sacked and the buildings set on fire.
September 21 The Royal Navy lands 900 British troops at the mouth of the Riviere des Galets in the middle of the night. Governor General Decaen, convinced that they are intent on taking Saint Paul orders General des Brulys to defend the city. Des Brulys advances on Saint Paul at the head of the militia but realizes that the battle is lost. He returns to Saint Denis and prepares to defend the town.
The Chief Battle Engineer, Soleille, threatens to execute General des Brulys for cowardice after the Governor prepares a surrender document.
September 25 General des Brulys commits suicide at his apartment in the Hotel du Gouvernement.
October 6 Governor General Decaen appoints Colonel Chrysostome de Sainte Suzanne to succeed General des Brulys as Governor of Ile Bonaparte.
1810July 6 A British expedition composed of 21 ships carrying 5 to 6,000 men sails to a point 50 miles to the east of Ilea Bonaparte.
July 7 Three British ships are sighted off Denis Saint in the early morning.
At 8 a.m. 5 British ships are sighted between Saint Denis and Riviere Saint Jean.
At 9 a.m. HMS Nereide passes the entrance to Saint Denis Roadstead and anchors at La Chaloupe.
At 10 a.m. ten British ships are sighted.
At Noon 18 vessels are in sight of Ile Bonaparte preparing to land troops. The British come ashore at Riviere des Pluies and Grande Chaloupe then march on Saint Denis which is defended by General de Sainte Suzanne and 4 companies of militia and guards totaling 260 men.
July 8 The inevitable battle is fought on the Plateau de la Redoute. The French defenders fail to turn back the British invaders coming down the mountain.
At 5 p.m., after hearing the reports of his post commanders, General de Sainte-Suzanne offers to surrender to the British.
At 6 p.m. General de Sainte-Suzanne signs the surrender in a house belonging to Sieur Dubourg at 133 Rue Saint Joseph.
July 9 Robert Townsend Farquhar who served aboard HMS Boadicea during the capture of Saint Denis is named Governor of Ile Bonaparte.
August 7 The British restore the name of Ile Bourbon to the island.
August 25 Governor Farquhar informs the inhabitants of Ile Bourbon that the island has been annexed by the Crown and made a dependency of the British East India Company.
December 3 The Isle de France is captured by the British and renamed Mauritius. Governor Farquhar departs Ile Bourbon for Mauritius to assume the post of Governor General.
December 20 Lieutenant Henry Sheehy Keating who lead the British Conquest of Ile Bourbon and the Isle de France returns to Bourbon as governor.
1811February 15 General de Sainte-Suzanne returns to France.
April 26 Robert Farquhar returns to Ile Bourbon for a short time during which he formulates plans to make Madagascar a dependency of Mauritius. Farquhar's plans are foiled by the Treaty of Vienna and renounced by Westminster.
November 7 A slave revolt leaves 40 people dead and dozens of homes destroyed.
1812February 12 The leaders of the slave revolt are tried at the Church of Saint Denis. The verdict leaves no doubt as to British intolerance for slave revolts in her new colonies.
1814July 21 & 27 Royal decrees call for the reinstitution of the pre-revolutionary administrative organization of a governor, an intendant and a high council on Ile Bourbon.
November 15 The newly appointed governor, General Athanase-Hyacinthe Bouvet de Lozier, departs for Ile Bourbon following restoration of the island to France under the Treaty of Vienna.
1815April 6 French rule is restored. The British governor, Henry Keating, turns the reins of power over to General Bouvet de Lozier. Governor de Lozier will refuse British demands that he yield power after Napoleon escapes from exile on Elba.
April 18 Courts of Royal Jurisdiction and the Land Tribunal are re-established.
1816November 13 The High Council is suppressed and replaced by a Royal Court of Appeals.
1817The slave trade is abolished.
May Six Brothers of the Christian Schools arrive from France.
June 30 Governor Bouvet de Lozier is recalled to France and asked to explain, "the arbitrary action which he took during his government." The Governor successfully defends himself against charges brought by the Ordinator, Marchant, whom he had dismissed.
July The Elephant docks at Saint Denis with two new administrators, Commandant Hilaire Urbain Lafitte de Courteil and Ordinator Baron Panon Desbassyns de Richemont; three professors from L'Ecole Normale and six teachers including for members of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Cluny.
1818March 11 A decree grants full powers to the governor.
April 26 The Intendant is replaced by a navy commissioner and a council of government and administration.
September Commandant Lafitte de Courteil demands the recall of Baron de Richemont.
September 13 Captain Pierre - Bernard Milius is appointed Governor to act as both commandant and ordinator of Ile Bourbon.
December 24 Governor Milius establishes the Royal College of Ile Bourbon in Saint Denis under the direction of Colonel Maingard.
1819Former Governor Bouvet de Lozier authors a memoir entitled Memories of My Administration on Ile Bourbon.
Gardener-botanist Perrotet, a member of Captain Philibert's expedition to Cayenne, introduces the vanilla plant to Ile Bourbon.
1825A General Council of 48 members named by the King is created. It meets twice a year to make the needs and wishes of the colony known.
August 21 The Code de Villèle establishes the colony’s administrative structure for the next century. The ordinance preserves the Governor’s executive power granting him undivided military authority, the power to declare a state of siege and authorized to correspond directly with governments located on the sea lanes between the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn but the judicial and legislative prerogatives of the office are removed. Administration is entrusted to the Governor assisted by a Colonial Inspector, a Director of the Interior in charge of police, tax collection, public works and internal administration, an Ordinator (a Naval Officer responsible to the governor for administration of naval, military and treasury affairs) and a royal prosecutor. The Council of Government and Administration and the Land Tribunal give way to a Private Council composed of the administrators, the colonial inspector and 2 councilors named by the French government on recommendation of the governor.
1826Cilaos hot springs with a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit is is discovered on the flanks of the Piton des Neiges at 3,650 feet above sea-level.
1827April 7 Governor Achilles Guy Marie, Count de Cheffontaines, issues a decree ordering the lighting of public squares and buildings.
1828July 1 Ile Bourbon’s first slaughterhouse opens at the mouth of the Saint Denis River.
1829January Ground is broken for a carriageway along the mountains between Saint Denis and La Possession.
June 19 The steamer La Cornelie makes its inaugural voyage between Saint Denis and Saint Paul in 2½ hours.
1830July 5 Etienne Henry Mangin Duval d’Ailly is appointed Governor of Ile Bourbon by King Charles X who will be overthrown by the time his appointee arrives at his new post.
October 20 A ship, La Jeune Mathilde, reaches Saint Denis flying the tricolor and bringing news of the French monarchy’s overthrow by Louis Philippe. The Governor decrees that the Fleur de Lys of the Bourbon monarchy continue flying over the island.
October 30 Governor Duval d’Ailly, faced with an impatient population, orders the hoisting of the Tricolor over the capital and the boats in Saint Denis Roadstead.
November 24 Ministerial dispatches reaching Ile Bourbon confirm the overthrow of the monarchy.
December 27 An edict authorizes Governor Pierre - Benoît Dumas to sit, at his request, only at Ile Bourbon.
During the Year The colony faces serious financial difficulties brought on by overproduction of sugarcane and the development of a sugar beet industry in France along with the passing of destructive cyclones during the two preceding years.
The Association of Free Creoles is formed to demand limited autonomy and the application of metropolitan French civil liberties to Ile Bourbon. The Association calls for the maintenance of slavery declaring that it, "could not be called in question by an association of liberals which is devoted to the goal of maintaining the order social".
1831Source de Salazie, a mineral hot springs with a temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit, is discovered on the flanks of the Piton des Neiges at 2,860 feet above sea-level.
1832November 8 The newly appointed Governor of Ile Bourbon, Vice Admiral Jacques-Philippe Cuvillier takes office.
1833February Nicole de la Serve publishes of a new journal, "Le Salazien", which he calls the, "first patriotic and really colonial newspaper published in our island".
April 24 A law is enacted creating a Colonial Council of 30 members elected for 5 years. The power of the governor is limited to executive functions.
May 12 The Colonial Council convenes for the first time at the Hôtel du Gouvernement and elects Sully Brunet and Pierre Conil to represent Ile Bourbon as deputies to the royal government.
1837August Governor Jacques-Philippe Cuvillier dissolves the Colonial Council and calls for new elections following the Chamber of Commerce’s protest of legislation affecting the rice trade.
1839February 6 The Colonial Council informs the new governor Vice Admiral Anne-Chrétien Louis de Hell that it favors maintaining slavery and believes there is no need to improve the lot of the slaves.
1840June 9 The newly appointed Vicar of Saint Denis, the Reverend Father Alexandre Monnet, arrives from France. He begins his work by authoring catechisms for the slaves and creoles.
September Father Monnet begins evangelizing the slaves. He celebrates mass in the open air and constructing a chapel at Rivière-des-Pluies. Father Monnet’s ministry enjoys the support of few landowners with the notable exception of Charles Desbassayns.
1841February 1 Governor de Hell dissolves the Colonial Council after it refuses to enact emancipation measures requested by the Government of King Louis-Philippe.
October 15 Vice Admiral Charles Bazoche is appointed Governor of Ile Bourbon.
During the Year Edmond Albius, a 12 year old slave on the Beaumont Bellier plantation at Sainte Suzanne, develops a method to artificially pollinate the vanilla flower.
1842February 2 The Governor dissolves the Colonial Council after it again refuses to enact the government’s emancipation legislation.
1844November 9 The pro-slavery members force the dissolution of the Colonial Council in hope of eliminating Sully Brunet as Ile Bourbon’s deputy to Paris.
1845November 10 The Colonial Council resigns in protest after promulgation of laws recognizing slaves as legal persons under the French judicial system.
1846June 20 Father Alexandre Monnet embarks for Ile Bourbon after a visit to France and Italy where he was honored for his work among the slaves by Pope Pius IX.
September 12 Father Monnet arrives at Saint Denis were he is met by a mob of young Creoles offering a thousand piasters for his head. The mob attacks the rectory twice before torrential rains disperse them around 10 p.m. The police refuse to intervene.
September 14 Governor Joseph Graëb returns to Saint Denis. He prohibits further demonstrations while insisting that he is, “filled with feelings of love for the colonists.” The Governor orders Father Monnet to leave Ile Bourbon within fifteen days despite the pleas of the apostolic prefect Monsignor Poncelet.
September 28 Father Monnet taken from the military hospital where sought asylum in the middle of the night by the commander of the gendarmerie and put aboard the ship Pioneer for deportation from Ile Bourbon.
1847April 15 The Colonial Council petitions King Louis-Philippe for representation of the colonies in the Chamber of Deputies.
August 5 The Colonial Council re-elects Dejean de la Batie and replaces Sully Brunet with the Marquis Henri de Castellane as its deputies to Paris. In electing de Castellane, a metropolitan, the Council contradicts its pledge to elect only Creoles as deputies.
1848Reunion is restored as the official name of the island.
March 8 Father Alexandre Monnet becomes Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit and the interlocutor of the provisional government of Victor Schoelcher. He learns that slavery is about to be abolished and writes to the colonial clergy asking them to advise the colonists to emanicipate their slaves without wait for the application of the decree. A leader of the pro-slavery cause on Ile Bourbon, Monsieur Minot responds, "I laughed while reading Monsieur Monnet’s letter, exhorting the priests to take the initiative by giving freedom to their slaves. Not a one paid attention to this invitation."
April 30 The Colonial Council is suppressed by the Second Republic, Governor Graëb is dismissed and slavery is abolished on Reunion.
December 20 The Republican Commissioner, Governor Joseph Sarda Garriga, issues a proclamation emancipating the 60,318 of Reunion’s 108,829 inhabitants held as slaves.
During the Year Vanilla is exported from Reunion for the first time. The trade will grow from 50 kilograms this year to 100 tons per year by the end of the century.
1849April 24 The French National Assembly votes to compensate the owners of freed slaves.
November 8 Father Alexandre Monnet departs Reunion after a short visit to take up his new appointment as Bishop of Madagascar.
1851September 17 The crew of the steamer Sophie allows passengers infected with smallpox to go ashore in Saint Denis. The ensuing epidemic last a year and claims 1,413 lives on Reunion.
1852July 22 The Government offers 110 land concessions on the highland plains of Palms and of Cafres but only 43 are taken up because of the area’s remoteness.
August 8 Reunion’s first native born governor, Henri Hubert Delisle, arrives aboard frigate La Belle Poule.
1853July 4 The Bank of Reunion opens in Saint Denis under a 20 year charter.
October 6-7 The Colonial Exposition is held in the Museum of Natural History’s Colonial Garden. A jury appointed by Governor Hubert Delisle awards prizes to the best of the 90 exhibits.
1854May 3 A Sénatus-consulte establishes a new General Council of 24 members appointed by the Governor and municipal councils which are also appointed by the Governor.
1855The Governor continues to represent the Head of State but is henceforth under the orders of the Minister of Colonies.
August 14 Governor Hubert Delisle inaugurates the Museum of Natural History.
December Governor Hubert Delisle visits Mauritius and obtains the extension of British maritime postal service to Reunion.
During the Year Reunion exhibitors win 31 medals or honorable mentions at the Paris World Fair.
1859February 17 Les Mascareignes enters the Saint Denis roadstead at the end of a voyage during which many of the 200 African laborers on board died of cholera. The ship’s captain fearing the loss of his profit furnishes his passengers with false health certificates and allows them to land.
March 12 Cholera claims its first victim among the African laborers landed in Reunion from Les Mascareignes.
May The cholera epidemic unleashed on Saint Denis by the passengers of Les Mascareignes has killed 863 people.
July 11 The colonial administration approves a request from Gabriel Coat de Kerveguen, the largest landowner on Reunion, to his Indian laborers with 227,000 Austrian 20 kreuzer pieces. The silver coins circulate at par with the 1 franc piece and gain widespread acceptance despite the lack of legal tender status.
1860January 24 – February 1
The officers of Les Mascareignes are questioned in court. Captain Danel and junior officers are acquitted of all charges in connection with the landing of persons infected with cholera.
March An earthquake and volcanic eruption rock the island.
1864September 19 Governor Rodolphe Darricau departs Reunion on the inaugural outbound sailing of La Compagnie Messageries Maritimes’ ship l’Ermine.
1866July 4 A Sénatus-consulte increases the powers of the General Council.
1870September 20 Prussian troops occupy Pithiviers, France. The town’s telegrapher, 22 year old Reunion native Juliette Dodu, manages to tap into the line while held captive in a room above the station. Dodu smuggles the intercepted Prussian messages to the French forces for 17 nights before being denounced by her maid. She is sentenced to death for espionage but amnestied after the armistice is signed.
November 3 Governor Louis Hippolyte de Lormel appears in the presence of high civil authorities and military on the Place du Gouvernement to proclaim the Republic in front of an enormous crowd.
The French Republic conferred the full rights of French citizenship including the vote to the Negro population of Reunion.
December 3 The rules for election of General Councils are fixed by decree.
1871February 9 A decree is published calling for the election of a 24 member General Council by universal suffrage.
1873The functions of the Director of Interior, Ordinator and Colonial Inspector are suppressed. A Secretary General without power of his own assists the Governor. The General Council gradually increases its power at the expense of the executive.
1875November 26 A rock slide from the slopes of the Piton des Neiges and the Gros Morne buries the village of Grand Sable. Sixty three people are buried alive in less than five minutes. A family of six escapes the devastation when they are carried some 200 meters atop the sliding ground along with their house and animals.
1876September 22 Heavy rains cause severe damage to the north and east of the island.
1877July 26 An international commission of inquiry arrives at Saint Denis to investigate the condition of Indian laborers in the colony. It finds the workers complaints well founded and the civil service delinquent in providing immigration services.
October The local press attacks Governor Pierre Faron for failing to protect the colony from the, “demolition contract,” carried out by the British Consul and the International Board of Inquiry.
1878July 30 President MacMahon signs a decree awarding the Médaille Militaire and the Légion of Honor to Reunion native Juliette Dodu for, "having intercepted dispatches at the peril of her life in 1870, was condemned to death by the ennemy and saved by the cessation of hostilities". Madame Dodu becomes the first woman to receive either of the awards.
During the Year The sugar industry is ravaged by phylloxera.
1879March A particularly destructive storm sweeps over the island.
April 29 The press declares Governor Faron incapable of defending the colony's interest. The Governor, facing charges of financial impropriety and having presided over several natural disasters, is relieved of office at his own request and leaves Reunion.
April President Jules Grévy issues a decree to end the circulation of foreign currencies in French territories.
May 10 As the French State refused to take responsibility for its the demonetization of this currency which a private individual had introduced into the country to pay his employees.
The Administration announces that the French State will not take responsibility for the redemption of demonetized foreign currencies. Gabriel Coat de Kerveguen, Reunion's largest landowner who had placed some 227,000 of the 800,000 Austria silver kreuzer's in circulation on the island, is placed under house arrest and given 20 days to redeem the coins. Panic ensues. 20 kreuzer coins previously traded at par with the franc are exchanged at the rate of 75 or 80 centimes. Police in Saint Denis and Saint Paul go door to door begging shopkeepers to remain open and accept kreuzers. An angry mob demanding reimbursement attacks the home of Monsieur de Kerveguen's agent in Saint Pierre.
May 18 The Mayor of Saint Denis announces that the municipal cashiers will accept kreuzers for payment of taxes as in the past.
July The courts order Monsieur de Kerveguen to redeem the 227,000 Austrian 20 kreuzer coins he introduced to Reunion.
1881June Governor Pierre Cuinier organizes the island’s normal school.
1882The Government of India prohibits further emigration of laborers to Reunion in consequence of the inconsiderate treatment of the coolies by the colonists.
February 11 Governor Pierre Cuinier inaugurates the island’s railway.
May 21 The office of Director of the Interior is abolished and replaced by a secretary general.
September 15 The office of Ordinator is abolished its functions divided between the naval administration and the treasury.
1884May 24 Governor Pierre Cuinier calls on the inhabitants of Reunion to support the exercise of French rights in Madagascar and calls for volunteers to join an ultimately unsuccessful military expedition against that island.
1886The harbor on the south side of Cape Pointe des Galets is completed. It is hoped that with the opening of the port Reunion will become the warehouse and outlet for the produce of Madagascar.
October 11 Newly arrived Governor Emile Richaud calls the island’s dependence on a sugarcane monoculture a certain road to ruin. The Governor declares that Reunion’s future lies with Madagascar and declares that the Reunionese are the, “founders of our colonial empire and we are ready to revindicate our rights over the Great African Island that our ancestors were the first to colonize.”
1888October 6 Sportsman and aviator Roland Garros is born at 17 Rue de l'Arsenal in Saint Denis.
1889July 14 The centennial of the French Revolution is marked by bloody riots between drunken soldiers and civilians in Saint Denis. Le Créole, the local newspaper, reports, “scenes of orgies and blood,”. Rumors circulate of conflict between military and civil authorities and that Governor Edouard Manès refused to attend the parade because the troops refused to return the honor.
During the Year Reunion wins 213 awards at the Permanent Exposition of Colonies founded in conjunction with the Paris Universal Exposition.
1890July 14 Governor Manès and the civil authorities are present on the reviewing stand erected in front of the Saint Denis city hall at the intersection of Rue de Paris and Rue de la Compagnie for the Bastille Day Parade. The artillery company descends the Rue de Paris followed by the firemen then nothing. The strains of military marches are heard in the distance but the troops have return to barracks rather than pass before the Governor.
The public affront to the Governor is followed by a private one. Commandant de Cauvigny dispatches a note to Manès via a junior officer, “In virtue of article 351 of the decree of 23 October 1882, the troops under my command will not parade.” The Commandant refuses to render honors which he believes are reserved to the Head of State.
July 25 Governor Manès dispatches a copy of a writ declaring that the Governor, “is the representative of the Head of State and has under his order all services of the colony including the military service.” Manès suspends Commandant de Cauvigny and informs the Under Secretary of State for Colonies as to the situation.
1891An epidemic hits the island.
1892Three cyclones batter the island.
1896August 6 Madagascar is declared a French colony under pressure from the Reunionese lobby.
1897March 15 Ranavalona III the former Queen of Madagascar is exiled to Reunion.
July 2 Reunion’s population number 173,192. Three decades of decline end despite the cutoff of immigration from India, emigration to Madagascar and epidemics.
1899May Plague carried from Mauritius causes 50 deaths on Reunion.
During the Year Malaria claims 1,761 victims on Reunion.
1902Total population numbers 173,315 including 13,492 British Indians, 4,496 Malagasy, 9,457 foreign-born Negroes, and 1,378 Chinese. Saint Denis, the island’s capital, has 27,392 inhabitants, Saint Pierre 28,885, Saint Louis 12,541 and Saint Paul 19,617. Governor Paul Samary ends secularization of the schools and initiates a literacy program.
1904March 21 – 22 A cyclone batters the island destroying 40% of the sugar crop and 75% of the vanilla crop.
1905August 5 – 6 The 200 year old church of Saint Paul is destroyed by fire during the night.
During the Year Storms destroy one third of the sugarcane, vanilla and geranium crop. The price of sugar has dropped from 35 to 25 francs/100 kilograms during the preceding two years. The price of vanilla has dropped from 55 to 10 francs/100 kilograms in the preceding five years.
1906Reunion is connected with Tamatave, Mauritius and the rest of the world by marine telegraph cable.
Steps are taken for the creation of central sugar mills and refineries. Many small mills are forced to shutdown.
Roland Garros becomes cycling champion of France.
1907January 23 Fires are set in 26 Saint Gilles houses. The arson is attributed to a, “pyromaniac sorcerer.”
September 15 George Richard and Dureau de Vaulcomte lead Reunionese into the streets leading to the Colonial Garden of Saint Denis for mass demonstration of opposition to Governor General Victor Augagner’s proposal to make Reunion a dependency of Madagascar.
1908July 19 Roland Garros is licensed as a pilot by the Aéro Club de France and departs on an exhibition tour of France and America.
September 6 Roland Garros sets a new world altitude record of 3,910 meters for an airplane flight.
September 18 An arsonist sets fire to the Rivière du Mât distillery.
1910February 26 An arsonist sets fire to the Grand Lycée in Saint Denis.
1913September 23 Roland Garros makes the first non-stop crossing of the Mediterranean Sea by air in a Morane-Saulnier monoplane powered by a 60 h.p. Gnôme rotary engine. Garros leaves Saint Raphael near Cannes at 5:47 a.m. and lands at Bizerte, Tunisia 7 hours 53 minutes later with only a gallon of fuel left.
1914August Germany declares war on France. The First World War disrupts shipping between France and Reunion. Governor Pierre Duprat prohibits export or reexport of rice, corn and wheat. The maximum price of rice is fixed by decree. All civil servants are paid in local currency issued by the Bank of Reunion.
During the Year Roland Garros develops a forward firing machine gun which fires bullets through the propeller of his plane to which he has attached steel deflector plates.
1915March Roland Garros shoots down 5 German aircraft and become the first pilot of World War I to be called an Ace (the title is bestowed by an American newspaper).
April 18 Roland Garros is shot down after gliding to a landing behind the German lines. Garros is captured while attempting to burn his aircraft to protect the secret of his forward firing machine gun. The wreckage is turned over to Anton Fokker who subsequently designs a superior and safer forward firing mechanism employing an interrupter gear.
1917November Governor Duprat orders the administration to take control of rice imports from the private sector which has been unable to assure an adequate supply. 11,000 tons of rice are imported from Mauritius, Madagascar and Indochina at cost of 5 million francs over the next 6 months. The rice is sold on Reunion at a fixed price of 70 centimes/kilogram.
1918February Roland Garros escapes from a German prisoner of war camp after 3 years in captivity and rejoins the French Army.
October 5 Roland Garros is shot down and killed while on a mission near Vouziers, France.
November 11 An armistice ends the First World War. 1,059 of the more than 10,000 Reunionese mobilized during the conflict have been killed in action.
During the Year 14,000 cinchona seedlings are planted on the Grande Ilette of the Rainy River. Production of quinine resumes 3 years later with the removal of the bark of 3,000 of the cinchona trees.
1919The properties of the de Kerveguen family, once the largest landholders on Reunion, are liquidated to settle a 40 judgment hold them libel for the redemption of 227,000 demonatized Austrian kreuzers.
1920Spanish influenza kills 7,800 Reunionese more than the First World War.
Reunionese consume 1,415,000 liters of rum. Governor Frédéric Estebbe condemns the local courts for their lenient application of the laws against intoxication.
1921La Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes drops Reunion as the terminus of the African East Coast line. Reunion is relegated to a supplementary route increasing travel time between the island and Marseilles from 25 to 38 days.
1925December 3 A stature of Roland Garros by the aviator’s friend Etienne Forestier is unveiled before a large crowd including Louis Blériot, the senator and deputies of Reunion on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris.
1926April 25 Etienne Forestier’s statue of Roland Garros is unveiled at its permanent location on the Esplanade du Barachois in Saint Denis.
During the Year Governor Jules Repiquet initiates a reforestation program with the distribution of 1,516,000 free seedlings.
Madagascar ceases to export rice. Reunion is forced to rely on more expensive Burmese or Indochinese rice. Governor Repiquet calls for the substitution of rice with corn or manioc.
1927Roland Garros Stadium is built in Paris and becomes permanent site of the French Open Tennis Tournament the following year.
1933The infant mortality rate (children under the age of 2) reaches 35.8%.
1936April 26 Veteran conservatives Louis Gasparin and Auguste Brunet are re-elected to the Chamber of Deputies in an election marred by violent attacks on campaign workers and party offices and stolen ballot boxes.
May 26 The Parti Communiste Réunionnais d'Action Démocratique et Sociale is founded by Secretary Marcel Vauthier, Jean Chatel, Roger Payet and Raymond Vergès.
1937January 19 Communist Party functionaries foment a strike by the dockworkers.
January 23 Gaston Roufli and Leon De Lepervanche, leaders of the Reunionese Workers Federation, call on the general population to express its solidarity with the strikers.
1938January 25 Governor Leon Truitard negotiates an end to the strike. The companies agree to pay the workers for their time on strike.
1939September 1 Reunion mobilizes for war. Governor Joseph Court addresses the colony by radio declaring, "our nation standing beside the allied countries will answer with victory the cynical challenge of a barbarian chief to the sacred principles of the human conscience".
During the Year Governor Court reports numerous deaths and hospitalizations among the Reunionese soldiers headed to the front by way of Madagascar due to deplorable sanitary conditions.
1940June 18 Governor Pierre Emile Aubert cables the French Government in Bordeaux, "A group of local leaders has expressed the ardent desire that Marshal Pétain be informed of the following wish: Block England, United States, France... must lead to victory even after the government abandons the soil of the metropolis. Our people, our possessions are unscathed. Military defeat after glorious defense is not the collapse of the Empire ".
General de Gaulle’s call for continued French resistance is transmitted to Reunion by the radio station on the nearby British colony of Mauritius.
June 21 Governor Aubert circulates a policy document for comment on the legitimacy of the Pétain government.
June 22 Governor Aubert calls a meeting of the island’s defense council.
June 23 The British Consul on Reunion, Maurice Gaud, transmits an offer from the Foreign Minister, Lord Halifax, to the Aubert administration. It invites the Governor and the colony to join the United Kingdom which agrees to provide for the needs of the Reunionese civil and military functionaries.
Governor Aubert rejects the British offer and orders the mayors, gendarmes and administrators of Reunion to cease petitioning in favor of persons without mandate, i.e. De Gaulle.
June 24 The Minister of Colonies, Rivière, advises Governor Aubert to be on guard against, "tendentious maneuvers" and to take no initiatives in foreign affairs without consulting the national government.
Governor Aubert draws up a list of persons to be watched, orders public buildings be placed under surveillance and the locks changed on the doors of the Government Palace.
June 25 Governor Aubert addresses the population by radio, asks them to remain calm and assures them that the colony has sufficient provisions.
June 29 Governor Aubert asks a meeting of the advisory Commission on Defense shall, "the Government of Reunion will abandon legality in contempt of the central authorities and place itself at the disposal of the British Government?"
The Royal Navy seizes the patrol sloop Ville de Magenta whose crew includes a large contingent of Reunionese. Ties with Britain and Mauritius are severed.
During the Year The Place du Barachois is renamed Esplanade Marshal Pétain.
Governor Aubert orders the transfer of the administration from Saint Denis to the interior town of Hellbourg.
1942November 28 The Free French destroyer Leopard enters the harbor at Saint Denis. A battery on the Galets peninsula opens fire and is quickly silenced by that returned. Vichy Governor Aubert agrees to yield without further resistance.
December 1 General de Gaulle’s representative, André Jean Capagory, takes charge of the administration. 1946
March 19 Reunion is raised to the status of an Overseas Department, an integral part of the French Republic on an equal basis with the departments of metropolitan France.
August 16 Governor André Jean Capagory turns the reins of power over to Reunion’s first prefect, Paul Demange.

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