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Cilaos is a town and commune on the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. It is located centrally on the island, in a caldera of altitude 1,214 m. The caldera (usually known as the 'Cirque') is also named for the community.HistoryThe name Cilaos comes from the Malagasy word, Tsilaosa (modern form : tsy ilaozana), which means the place one never leaves.According to some historians, the word Cilaos finds its origins in the name of a Malagasian slave named Tsilaos who took refuge in this cirque. At the time, slaves were called "brown", whereas runaway slaves were called "black-brown".The first inhabitants of the cirque of Cilaos were thus "black-browns" who believed themselves to be at the top of the world and completely safe. However, these first runaways were recaptured very quickly, tracked and hunted by well-organized and well-armed slaveholders. In these runaways' attempts to escape recapture, several were killed. It seems likely that these first runaways created the goat paths that climb most of the mountains on Réunion.After the death or recapture of these runaway slaves, the cirque of Cilaos likely became uninhabited once again for a while, since the first official record of its settlement occur only around 1850. In this year, a spa station was set up, and by 1866, there were 960 inhabitants. By 1900, the population had risen to 2500, and the 1982 census recorded 5629 inhabitants in the whole cirque.Cilaos is in Arrondissement of Saint-Pierre. When using our Reunion Island trip maker website to make an itinerary online, Cilaos holidays come together around your tastes, interests, and requirements, with us taking care of the logistics.
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Top tours near Cilaos
Reunion Island - Piton de la Fournaise - Volcano Day Tour BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $170
Duration: 10 to 11 hours
LE VOLCAN, VOYAGE AU COEUR DE LA REUNION BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $124
Duration: 3 hours
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