Tahiti (French Ta´tiv), formerly Otaheite, island of French Polynesia (an overseas territory of France), the largest and most important of the Society Islands, in the southern Pacific Ocean. Tahiti is one of the Windward group, or the southeastern part of the Society Islands. It is 53 km (33 mi) long and 26 km (16 mi) wide with a total area of about 1036 sq km (about 400 sq mi).
The island consists of two unequal and nearly circular portions connected by a narrow isthmus called Taravao, about 1.6 km (about 1 mi) wide and 15 m (50 ft) or less above sea level. The island is of volcanic origin and is mountainous. The climate is warm and equable, the temperature ranging from 16░ to 32░ C (60░ to 90░ F). Rainfall is abundant, and the island is covered with luxuriant vegetation.
The population of Tahiti (1988) is 115,820, and the indigenous inhabitants are Polynesians. The chief town on the island is Papeete (population, 1988, 23,555), which is also the capital of French Polynesia.
Agricultural products are bananas, coconuts, oranges, sugarcane, and vanilla beans. The principal manufacturing industries are the preparation of copra, sugar, and rum. Pearls and mother-of-pearl are gathered. The chief exports include copra, vanilla beans, mother-of-pearl, and phosphates. Tourism is also important.
French navigator Louis Antoine de Bougainville visited Tahiti in 1768 and claimed it for France. The next year British lieutenant James Cook explored the island. British naval officer William Bligh, captain of the Bounty, landed here in 1788, a year before the famed mutiny on his ship. France declared Tahiti a protectorate in 1842 and a colony in 1880. French artist Paul Gauguin did many of his paintings here in the early 1890s. In 1946 the island, as part of French Polynesia, became a French overseas territory.
church on island interior
people live from the sea
fishing nets and boats
pineapples from Moorea on dock in front of
Kon Tiki Hotel in Papeete
port of Papeete in 1995
the Ono Ono hydrofoil vessels
with service to the other Society Islands
Other Society Islands
Photos of Bora-Bora
Photos of Moorea
Photos of Rangiroa
More Photos of Huahine
most revered spot in Polynesia
More Photos of Raiatea
Takapoto, one of the TUAMOTU Islands
More Photos of Takapoto
Photos of Rangiroa, another of the Tuamotu islands
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Other Pacific Islands
In the Pacific are
many islands with very diverse peoples and cultures.
Many have been largely untouched by Western civilization.
To visit these is a unique experience.
Papua New Guinea
Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
The Indonesian Island of Bali
The Indonesian Island of Java
The Indonesian Island of Komodo
The Indonesian Islands of MOLUKA
The Indonesian Island of Selayar
The Indonesian Island of Sulawesi
The Indonesian Island of Sumatra
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