Vista area from a helicopter Cialos Cirque. Cilaos is at the center of the island, in the natural amphitheater of the same name, in the southern part of the Piton des Neiges. All his municipality is located in the Alto. Cilaos holds the world record of diurnal rainfall amounted to 1.87 m in 1952. The surrounding communities are in Saffron Walden, Entre-Deux, Saint Benedict, Saint-Leu, St. Louis, St. Paul, Salazie and three pools. The word comes from the Malagasy word Cilaos Tsilaosa, which means "place where one is safe" one. Regarding the supposed origin, the common currency is "Cilaos, always returns." However, according to some historians, the word Cilaos ever find its origin in the name of a slave from Madagascar called "Tsilaos" shelter in the circus. It is also these slaves "brown" (or "dark brown") in Cilaos leak was first settled. They escaped from their masters, the Maroons took advantage of the difficulty of access to the place of living in freedom and nature. Some of these slaves were installed Islet chain, which owes its name to the fact that hidden fugitive slaves could not reach the plateau by ropes thrown from the walls. Believing themselves safe, were chased quickly by "hunters chestnuts" armed and organized. In their flight, died many chestnuts. These hunters were Mussard (one of the best known in the meeting), which was in October 1851 on an island chain band, where he met two fugitive slave camps. Traces remain of marronage including forest Tapcal recent expeditions have unearthed bones. After the tragic history of these early inhabitants of chestnuts, which were definitely too early to reach these "goat paths" climbing the steep mountain circus time Cilaos remained uninhabited. It is in 1850 that officially dates its first settlement. But in 1835 came the "little white" poor and landless. These settlers developed a subsistence food (lentils, corn, wine, peas, beans, citrus, cattle, ...). The first family settled in the Arm of St. Paul and others on Islet String. Some facilities date back to the fourth generation, but it seems that the original owners, who arrived in the early twentieth century were Gonthier and Picard. In 1866, a population of 960 inhabitants. In the early twentieth century, Cilaos had 2,500 inhabitants. He reached the 1982 census the number of 5,629 inhabitants.