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Réunion is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about 200 kilometres (120 mi) southwest of Mauritius, the nearest island.Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France. Like the other overseas departments, Réunion is also one of the 27 regions of France (being an overseas region) and an integral part of the Republic with the same status as those situated on the European mainland.Réunion is an outermost region of the European Union and, as an overseas department of France, is part of the Eurozone.HistoryBefore the arrival of the Portuguese in the early sixteenth century, there is little to Réunion's recorded history. Arab traders were familiar with it by the name Dina Morgabin. The island possibly features on a map from 1153 AD by Al Sharif el-Edrisi. The island may also have been visited by Swahili or Malay sailors.The first European discovery of the area was made around 1507 by Portuguese explorers, but the specifics are unclear. The uninhabited island may have been first sighted by the expedition led by Dom Pedro Mascarenhas, who gave his name to the island group around Réunion, the Mascarenes. Réunion itself was dubbed Santa Apolónia after a favorite saint, which suggests that the date of the Portuguese discovery may have been February 9, her saint day. Diogo Lopes de Sequeira is said to have landed on the islands of Reunion and Rodrigues in 1509.