First discovered and inhabited by Arab sailors, Réunion shares a similar cultural history with other islands of the Indian Ocean, including Mauritius and the Seychelles. In 1513, the Portuguese sailors who landed on the then-uninhabited island named it Santa Apollonia. For much of its history, from the 17th century, Réunion has been administered by France; it remains one of France's overseas territories and is part of the Eurozone.
Prior to the opening of the Suez Canal that vastly eased sea trade between Asia and Europe, Réunion was an important port. Its population is a diverse mix of French, African, Chinese, Indian, and Malay groups. Whilst French is the official language and French culture has strongly influenced the island, Réunion's ethnic mix has given rise to a richly blended culture which can be seen especially in its music.
Traditional music include Sega and Maloya, which are derived from the music of continental Africa. Other elements include jazz, reggae, and souk. The Sakifo music festival is a large three-day celebration of Réunionese culture and music.