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Most still speak Chinese and have kept links with relatives in China.
Gujaratis Muslims also have been able to preserve their culture and religion. Whites and people of African, Tamil, and mixed ancestry consider themselves the original inhabitants of the island, in contrast to Gujaratis and Chinese.
The term Creole today also applies to people with a mixed ethnic background. It is difficult to categorize the population by ethnic background, but estimates indicate that approximately twenty percent of the population is of Indian ancestry, and around five percent is born in mainland France. Although French is the official language, Creole is the language of everyday life.
All the residents of the island are administratively French citizens. Reunion Island lies in the Indian Ocean, off the eastern coast of Madagascar. Based on French, with a mixture of Malagasy and Tamil words, it is used with relatives and for informal interactions. Although everybody understands it, many people cannot speak it; therefore, its use is a marker of educational achievement and social status. Economic and cultural ties are almost exclusively with mainland France; Reunion is officially called "the France of the Indian Ocean." Since the development of tourism in the 1970s, the image the island tries to project to the outside world is that of a multicolored society where people with different ethnic backgrounds live together peacefully. Discovered at the beginning of the sixteenth century, the island was reached by the French in 1643.
Immigrants from France hold the key positions in administration, and in the private sector, their wages are higher than are those of other groups.
Education is valued in families of Tamil, Gujarati, and Chinese ancestry.At 970 square miles, (2,512 square kilometers), it is the largest of the Mascarene islands. Climatic variations range from humid to dry tropical to Mediterranean. Reunion (then called Mascarin ) was devoid of inhabitants. In 1649 they officially claimed the island in the name of the king and named it Bourbon .