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Saint-Denis (Municipality, Reunion, France)

Last modified: 2009-03-21 by ivan sache
Keywords: saint-denis | volcano | ship (white) | palm trees: 2 (green) |
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[Flag of Saint-Denis]         [Flag of Saint-Denis]

Flag of Saint-Denis
Left, current version - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 17 January 2009
Right, former version - Image by Pascal Vagnat, 8 July 2006


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Presentation of Saint-Denis

The municipality of Saint-Denis (131,649 inhabitants; 14,729 ha) is located in the north of Reunion island. Saint-Denis is the capital of the island and the biggest town in non European France.
In 1665, the French Compagnie des Indes sent a fleet to Reunion island. The fleet left the port of La Rochelle on 14 March 1665. During the journey, the ship "Saint-Denis" lost her way in Tenerife (Canary Islands). The ship eventually found her way and moored in 1667 in a a bay near the estuary of a river. The Governor of Reunion, Étienne Regnault, was a good friend of Chanlette, the captain of the "Saint-Denis", and he decided to name the bay, the river and the future capital of the colony Saint-Denis. The place was selected because "the mooring was the best and the place was to become the center of commerce and governemnt". In April 1671, the name and administrative status of Saint-Denis were confirmed by Jacob Banquet de la Haye, Vice-Roy of India. The decision was officialized only 69 years later, in 1738, under Governor Mahé de Labourdonnais. The population of the town was then 2,166. The island was divided into five quartiers, including Saint-Denis, by a Royal Ordinance in 1766. Saint-Denis became a municipality in 1790.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 8 July 2006


Flag of Saint-Denis

The municipal flag of Saint-Denis, seen in several places of the town, is diagonally divided per bend sinister yellow-green with a stylized version of the municipal coat of arms an the name of the town.
A probably former version of the flag, with the greater municipal arms in the middle, is shown on the catalogue of the French flag manufacturer Faber.

The coat of arms of Saint-Denis is blazoned as follows on the municipal website:
Au 1er d'azur à la galère d'argent voguant sur des ondes du même mouvant de la pointe, au 2e d'or à deux palmiers de sinople posés sur une île soutenue à senestre d'un îlot du même, au chef de sinople chargé d'une chaîne de trois volcans d'argent : celui du centre, sommé d'une nuée fumante de gueules, la dite chaîne soutenue d'une autre chaîne de cinq monts de sinople (Firstly azure a galley argent sailing on waves of the same issuant from the base, secondly or two palm trees vert placed on an island supported sinister by an islet of the same, a chief sinople a chain of three volcanos argent, the central volcano ensigned by a smoking cloud gules, the chain supported by another chain of five mounts vert.)
L'écu timbré d'une couronne murale, à cinq merlons d'or, maçonnée et ouverte de sable est posé sur un rayonnement de quatorze feuilles de phénix d'argent. Il est soutenu d'une ancre du même mouvant de la pointe retenant un listel d'or aux retroussis de gueules brochant sur le feuillage et chargé de la devise en lettres romaines de sable "Praeter omnes angulus ridet" (The shield surmonted by a mural crown with five merlons or, masoned and gated sable, is placed on a radiation of 14 phoenix leaves argent. It is supported by an anchor of the same issuant from the base, holding a scroll or with linings gules overall the foliage and charged with the motto in Roman letters sable Praeter omnes angulus ridet.

This coat of arms was designed by Christol de Sigoyer, a Creole Municipal Councillor under the Second Empire. The design is strongly influenced by Romantism. The coat of arms was adopted by the Municipal Council on 13 February 1866.
The motto Praeter omnes angulus ridet is derived from Horatio's verse Ille terrarum mihi praeter omnes angulus ridet (Odes, Book II, Ode VI, Verse 13), which can be translated as "Of all the corners of the world, there is none that so charms me". Horatio meant the countryside in the neighbourhood of the city of Tarento in Apulia (Southern Italy). The same motto was added to the lyrics of the Danish national anthem Der er et yndigt land written in 1819 by Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger.

Olivier Touzeau, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 17 January 2009