Last modified: 2009-06-06 by ivan sache
Keywords: saint-benoit |
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Flag of Saint-Benoît - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 8 February 2009
The municipality of Saint-Benoît (33,187 inhabitants in 2006; 22,961 ha) is located on the north-eastern side of the island and considered as the capital of Eastern Reunion. Stretching out from the seashore to the mountains, the municipality includes the Crater Forest.
The area was settled by colonists in the 18th century. The settlement was made an independent parish and municipality in 1815 by Governor Pierre-Benoît Dumas, therefore its name.
The local, self-taught botanist Jospeh Hubert (1474-1826) contributed to the development of the town, and more generally of the island by acclimatizing several plants on the island. In 1770, Pierre Poivre, Governor of Isle Bourbon (Reunion) and Isle de France (Mauritius), lift the ban on the introduction of tropical plants on the island; Hubert visited Poivre's garden in Mauritius and was offerred a clove-tree and two nutmegs, which he replanted in his garden at Saint-Benoît. Hubert replanted several other trees and took notes on everything what happened to them, being therefore considered as the first autochtonous scientist of the island. In 1806, Poivre's clove- tree, of 60 feet in height, was uprooted by a hurricane; however, this tree is the "father" of all the island's cloves, since Hubert had started in 1790 to distribute seeds to farmers all over the island. Exportation of cloves peaked in 1829 with 800 tons. Hubert is also credited the introduction of breadfruit and lychee; he was also the first to obtain fruits from the purple mangosteen, who had been introduced on the island in 1757.
Ivan Sache, 8 February 2009
The flag of Saint-Benoît, seen in a distance on the road to the village of Sainte-Anne, is white with the municipal logo
Olivier Touzeau, 8 February 2009