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French Polynesia: A Blend of Polynesian and European Influences



French Polynesia

French Polynesia is an overseas collectivity of France consisting of five archipelagoes in the south-central Pacific Ocean. The capital, Papeete, is on the island of Tahiti. The first islands of French Polynesia to be settled were the Marquesas Islands in about 200 BC. Archaeological evidence suggests that the Marquesas Islands may have been settled about 200 BCE from western Polynesia.

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French Polynesia

French Polynesia

In subsequent dispersions, Polynesians from the Marquesas migrated to the Hawaiian Islands about 300 CE and reached the Society Islands by about the 9th century. Large chieftainships were formed on Tahiti, Bora-Bora, and Raiatea. Teriaroa, north of Tahiti, was a royal retreat, and Taputapuatea, on Raiatea, was a religious center.

In 1842, France took possession of Tahiti and its dependencies and later annexed them. In 1946, French Polynesia became an overseas territory of France. In 2004, it became an overseas collectivity with a certain degree of autonomy.

French Polynesia has a rich history and culture that is still celebrated today. The country’s culture is a blend of Polynesian and European influences. The traditional Polynesian culture is still evident in the country’s music, dance, art, and cuisine. The country’s official languages are French and Tahitian.