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OR:

)
Territorial motto:
( en, "Great Tahiti of the Golden Haze")
, anthem =

, song_type = Regional anthem , song = " Ia Ora 'O Tahiti Nui" , image_map = French Polynesia on the globe (French Polynesia centered).svg , map_alt = Location of French Polynesia , map_caption = Location of French Polynesia (circled in red) , mapsize = 290px , subdivision_type =
Sovereign state A sovereign state or sovereign country, is a polity, political entity represented by one central government that has supreme legitimate authority over territory. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defin ...
, subdivision_name = , established_title = Protectorate proclaimed , established_date = 9 September 1842 , established_title2 = Territorial status , established_date2 = 27 October 1946 , established_title3 = Collectivity status , established_date3 = 28 March 2003 , established_title4 = Country status (nominal title) , established_date4 = 27 February 2004 , official_languages = French , regional_languages = , capital =
Papeete Papeete ( Tahitian: ''Papeete'', pronounced ) is the capital city A capital city or capital is the municipality holding primary status in a country, state, province, Department (country subdivision), department, or other subnational entity, u ...
, coordinates = , largest_city = Fa'a'ā , demonym = French Polynesian , ethnic_groups = 66.5% unmixed 
Polynesians Polynesians form an ethnolinguistic group of closely related people who are Indigenous peoples of Oceania , native to Polynesia (islands in the Polynesian Triangle), an expansive region of Oceania in the Pacific Ocean. They trace their early pre ...

7.1% mixed Polynesians
9.3% Demis
11.9%
Europeans Europeans are the focus of European ethnology, the field of anthropology related to the various ethnic groups that reside in the List of sovereign states and dependent territories in Europe, states of Europe. Groups may be defined by common gen ...

4.7%
East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia, which is defined in both Geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The modern State (polity), states of East Asia include China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. ...
ns , ethnic_groups_year = 1988Most recent ethnic census, in 1988. , government_type =
Devolved Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government A central government is the government that is a controlling power over a unitary state. Another distinct but sovereign political entity is a Federation#Fede ...
parliamentary A parliamentary system, or parliamentarian democracy, is a system of democracy, democratic government, governance of a sovereign state, state (or subordinate entity) where the Executive (government), executive derives its democratic legitimacy ...
dependency , leader_title1 =
President of the French Republic The president of France, officially the president of the French Republic (french: Président de la République française), is the executive head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially emb ...
, leader_name1 =
Emmanuel Macron Emmanuel Macron (; born 21 December 1977) is a French politician who has served as President of France since 2017. ''Ex officio'', he is also one of the two Co-Princes of Andorra. Prior to his presidency, Macron served as Minister of Eco ...
, leader_title2 =
President of French Polynesia The president of French Polynesia (french: Président de la Polynésie française; ty, Peretīteni no te Porīnetia farani) has been the head of government of French Polynesia since 1984. Édouard Fritch has held the office since 2014. List of ...
, leader_name2 = Édouard Fritch , leader_title3 = High Commissioner of the Republic , leader_name3 =
Dominique Sorain Dominique Sorain (born 31 July 1955 in :fr:Caudéran, Caudéran, France) is a French senior civil servant. He has been serving as List of colonial and departmental heads of French Polynesia, High Commissioner of the Republic in French Polynesia sin ...
, legislature =
Assembly of French Polynesia The Assembly of French Polynesia (french: Assemblée de la Polynésie française, Tahitian language, Tahitian: Te apo'ora'a rahi o te fenua Mā'ohi) is the Unicameralism, unicameral legislature of French Polynesia, an Overseas country of France, o ...
, national_representation =
French Parliament The French Parliament (french: Parlement français) is the Bicameralism, bicameral legislature of the France, French Republic, consisting of the Senate (France), Senate () and the National Assembly (France), National Assembly (). Each assemb ...
, national_representation_type1 =
Senate A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house An upper house is one of two Debate chamber, chambers of a bicameralism, bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house.''Bicameralism'' (1997) by George Tseb ...
, national_representation1 = 2 senators (of 348) , national_representation_type2 =
National Assembly In politics, a national assembly is either a unicameral legislature, the lower house of a bicameral legislature, or both houses of a bicameral legislature together. In the English language it generally means "an assembly composed of the repre ...
, national_representation2 = 3 seats (of 577) , area_km2 = 4,167 , area_rank = , area_land_km2 = 3,521.2 , percent_water = 12 , elevation_max_m = , elevation_max_ft = , population_census =278,786 , population_census_rank =175th , population_census_year =Aug. 2022 , population_density_km2 = 79 , population_density_sq_mi = 205 , population_density_rank = 130th , GDP_PPP = , GDP_PPP_rank = , GDP_PPP_year = , GDP_PPP_per_capita = , GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank = , GDP_nominal = US$6.01 billion , GDP_nominal_rank = , GDP_nominal_year = 2019 , GDP_nominal_per_capita =US$21,615 , GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank = , HDI_year = , HDI_change = , HDI = , currency =
CFP franc The CFP franc (French language, French: , called the ''franc'' in everyday use) is the currency used in the France, French overseas collectivity, overseas collectivities (, or COM) of French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Wallis and Futuna. The i ...
(₣) , currency_code = XPF , timezone = , utc_offset_list = , date_format = dd/mm/yyyy , electricity = , drives_on = right , calling_code = +689 , iso_code = , cctld = .pf French Polynesia (; french: Polynésie française ; ty, Pōrīnetia Farāni) is an
overseas collectivity The France, French overseas collectivities ('':fr:collectivité d'outre-mer, collectivité d'outre-mer'' or ''COM'') are first-order administrative divisions of France, like the regions of France, French regions, but have a semi-autonomous stat ...
of
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
and its sole overseas country. It comprises 121 geographically dispersed islands and
atoll An atoll () is a ring-shaped island, including a coral rim that encircles a lagoon partially or completely. There may be coral islands or cays on the rim. Atolls are located in warm Tropics, tropical or Subtropics, subtropical oceans and seas ...
s stretching over more than in the
South Pacific Ocean South is one of the cardinal directions or Points of the compass, compass points. The direction is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to both east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Pro ...
. The total land area of French Polynesia is , with a population of 278,786 (Aug. 2022 census). French Polynesia is divided into five groups of islands: # the
Society Islands The Society Islands (french: Îles de la Société, officially ''Archipel de la Société;'' ty, Tōtaiete mā) are an archipelago located in the South Pacific Ocean. Politically, they are part of French Polynesia, an overseas country of France, ...
archipelago, comprising the
Windward Islands french: Îles du Vent , image_name = , image_caption = ''Political'' Windward Islands. Clockwise: Dominica Dominica ( or ; Kalinago language, Kalinago: ; french: Dominique; Dominican Creole French: ), officially the Commonwealth of Domini ...
and the
Leeward Islands french: Îles-Sous-le-Vent , image_name = , image_caption = ''Political'' Leeward Islands. Clockwise: Antigua and Barbuda, Guadeloupe, Saint kitts and Nevis. , image_alt = , locator_map = , location = Caribbean Sea The Caribbean Sea ( ...
# the
Tuamotu Archipelago The Tuamotu Archipelago or the Tuamotu Islands (french: Îles Tuamotu, officially ) are a French Polynesian chain of just under 80 islands and atolls in the southern Pacific Ocean. They constitute the largest chain of atolls in the world, extendin ...
# the
Gambier Islands The Gambier Islands ( or ) are an archipelago in French Polynesia, located at the southeast terminus of the Tuamotu archipelago. They cover an area of , and are made up of the Mangareva Islands, a group of high islands remnants of a caldera alo ...
# the
Marquesas Islands The Marquesas Islands (; french: Îles Marquises or ' or '; Marquesan language, Marquesan: ' (North Marquesan language, North Marquesan) and ' (South Marquesan language, South Marquesan), both meaning "the land of men") are a group of volcano, ...
# the
Austral Islands The Austral Islands (french: Îles Australes, officially ''Archipel des Australes;'' ty, Tuha'a Pae) are the southernmost group of islands in French Polynesia, an overseas country of the French Republic in the South Pacific. Geographically, ...
. Among its 121 islands and atolls, 75 were inhabited at the 2017 census.
Tahiti Tahiti (; Tahitian language, Tahitian ; ; previously also known as Otaheite) is the largest island of the Windward Islands (Society Islands), Windward group of the Society Islands in French Polynesia. It is located in the central part of the P ...
, which is in the Society Islands group, is the most populous island, being home to nearly 69% of the population of French Polynesia .
Papeete Papeete ( Tahitian: ''Papeete'', pronounced ) is the capital city A capital city or capital is the municipality holding primary status in a country, state, province, Department (country subdivision), department, or other subnational entity, u ...
, located on Tahiti, is the capital of French Polynesia. Although not an integral part of its territory,
Clipperton Island Clipperton Island ( or ; ) is an uninhabited, coral atoll in the eastern Pacific Ocean. It is from Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, ...
was administered from French Polynesia until 2007. Hundreds of years after the Great Polynesian Migration, European explorers began traveling through the region, visiting the islands of French Polynesia on several occasions. Traders and whaling ships also visited. In 1842, the French took over the islands and established a French
protectorate A protectorate, in the context of international relations, is a State (polity), state that is under protection by another state for defence against aggression and other violations of law. It is a dependent territory that enjoys autonomy over m ...
that they called ' (French Establishments/Settlements of Oceania). In 1946, the ' became an overseas territory under the constitution of the
French Fourth Republic The French Fourth Republic (french: Quatrième république française) was the Republicanism, republican government of France from 27 October 1946 to 4 October 1958, governed by the fourth republican constitution. It was in many ways a revival of ...
, and Polynesians were granted the right to vote through citizenship. In 1957, the ' were renamed French Polynesia. In 1983 French Polynesia became a member of the
Pacific Community The Pacific Community (PC), formerly the South Pacific Commission (SPC), is an international development organisation governed by 27 members, including 22 Pacific island countries and territories. The organisation's headquarters are in Nouméa, ...
, a regional development organization. Since 28 March 2003, French Polynesia has been an overseas collectivity of the French Republic under the constitutional revision of article 74, and later gained, with law 2004-192 of 27 February 2004, an administrative autonomy, two symbolic manifestations of which are the title of the
President of French Polynesia The president of French Polynesia (french: Président de la Polynésie française; ty, Peretīteni no te Porīnetia farani) has been the head of government of French Polynesia since 1984. Édouard Fritch has held the office since 2014. List of ...
and its additional designation as an overseas country.


History

Anthropologists and historians believe the Great Polynesian Migration commenced around 1500 BC as
Austronesian peoples The Austronesian peoples, sometimes referred to as Austronesian-speaking peoples, are a large group of peoples in Taiwan, Maritime Southeast Asia, Micronesia, coastal New Guinea, Island Melanesia, Polynesia, and Madagascar that speak Austrones ...
went on a journey using celestial navigation to find islands in the South Pacific Ocean. The first islands of French Polynesia to be settled were the Marquesas Islands in about 200 BC. The Polynesians later ventured southwest and discovered the Society Islands around AD 300. European encounters began in 1521 when Portuguese explorer
Ferdinand Magellan Ferdinand Magellan ( or ; pt, Fernão de Magalhães, ; es, link=no, Fernando de Magallanes, ; 4 February 1480 – 27 April 1521) was a Portuguese people, Portuguese explorer. He is best known for having planned and led the Magellan expeditio ...
, sailing at the service of the
Spanish Crown , coatofarms = File:Coat_of_Arms_of_Spanish_Monarch.svg , coatofarms_article = Coat of arms of the King of Spain , image = Felipe_VI_in_2020_(cropped).jpg , incumbent = Felipe VI , incumbentsince = 19 Ju ...
, sighted Puka-Puka in the Tuāmotu-Gambier Archipelago. In 1606 another Spanish expedition under Pedro Fernandes de Queirós sailed through Polynesia sighting an inhabited island on 10 February which they called Sagitaria (or Sagittaria), probably the island of Rekareka to the southeast of Tahiti. In 1722, Dutchman
Jakob Roggeveen Jacob Roggeveen (1 February 1659 – 31 January 1729) was a Dutch Republic, Dutch explorer who was sent to find Terra Australis and Davis Land, but instead found Easter Island (called so because he landed there on Easter Sunday). Jacob Roggeveen ...
while on an expedition sponsored by the Dutch West India Company, charted the location of six islands in the Tuamotu Archipelago and two islands in the Society Islands, one of which was
Bora Bora Bora Bora (French language, French: ''Bora-Bora''; Tahitian language, Tahitian: ''Pora Pora'') is an island group in the Leeward Islands (Society Islands), Leeward Islands. The Leeward Islands comprise the western part of the Society Islands o ...
. British explorer
Samuel Wallis Samuel Wallis (23 April 1728 – 21 January 1795 in London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands o ...
became the first European navigator to visit Tahiti in 1767. French explorer
Louis Antoine de Bougainville Louis-Antoine, Comte de Bougainville (, , ; 12 November 1729 – August 1811) was a French admiral and exploration, explorer. A contemporary of the British explorer James Cook, he took part in the Seven Years' War in North America and the Americ ...
also visited Tahiti in 1768, while British explorer
James Cook James Cook (7 November 1728Old Style and New Style dates, Old Style date: 27 October – 14 February 1779) was a British explorer, navigator, cartography, cartographer, and captain (Royal Navy), captain in the British Royal Navy, famous for ...
arrived in 1769, and observed the transit of Venus. He would stop in Tahiti again in 1773 during his second voyage to the Pacific, and once more in 1777 during his third and last voyage before being killed in Hawaii. In 1772, the Spanish
Viceroy of Peru The viceroys of Peru ruled the Viceroyalty of Peru The Viceroyalty of Peru ( es, Virreinato del Perú, links=no) was a Monarchy of Spain, Spanish imperial provincial administrative district, created in 1542, that originally contained modern ...
Don Manuel de Amat ordered a number of expeditions to Tahiti under the command of Domingo de Bonechea who was the first European to explore all of the main islands beyond Tahiti. A short-lived Spanish settlement was created in 1774, and for a time some maps bore the name ''Isla de Amat'' after Viceroy Amat.
Christian mission A Christian mission is an organized effort for the propagation of the Christian faith. Missions involve sending individuals and groups across boundaries, most commonly geographical boundaries, to carry on evangelism or other activities, such as ...
s began with Spanish priests who stayed in Tahiti for a year. Protestants from the
London Missionary Society The London Missionary Society was an interdenominational evangelical Evangelicalism (), also called evangelical Christianity or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide Interdenominationalism, interdenominational movement within Protesta ...
settled permanently in Polynesia in 1797. King
Pōmare II Pōmare II (c. 1782 – December 7, 1821) (fully Tu Tunuieaiteatua Pōmare II or in modern orthography Tū Tū-nui-ʻēʻa-i-te-atua Pōmare II; historically misspelled as Tu Tunuiea'aite-a-tua), was the second List of monarchs of Tahiti, king of ...
of Tahiti was forced to flee to
Mo'orea Moorea ( or ; Tahitian language, Tahitian: ), also spelled Moorea, is a high island, volcanic island in French Polynesia. It is one of the Windward Islands (Society Islands), Windward Islands, a group that is part of the Society Islands, nort ...
in 1803; he and his subjects were converted to Protestantism in 1812. French Catholic missionaries arrived on Tahiti in 1834; their expulsion in 1836 caused France to send a gunboat in 1838. In 1842, Tahiti and
Tahuata Tahuata is the smallest of the inhabited Marquesas Islands The Marquesas Islands (; french: Îles Marquises or ' or '; Marquesan language, Marquesan: ' (North Marquesan language, North Marquesan) and ' (South Marquesan language, South Marque ...
were declared a French protectorate, to allow Catholic missionaries to work undisturbed. The capital of Papeetē was founded in 1843. In 1880, France annexed Tahiti, changing the status from that of a protectorate to that of a
colony In modern parlance, a colony is a territory A territory is an area of land, sea, or space, particularly belonging or connected to a country, person, or animal. In international relations, international politics, a territory is usuall ...
. The island groups were not officially united until the establishment of the French protectorate in 1889. After France declared a protectorate over Tahiti in 1842 and fought a war with Tahiti (1844–1847), the British and French signed the Jarnac Convention in 1847, declaring that the kingdoms of
Raiatea Raiatea or Ra'iatea (Tahitian language, Tahitian: ''Ra‘iātea'') is the second largest of the Society Islands, after Tahiti, in French Polynesia. The island is widely regarded as the "centre" of the eastern islands in ancient Polynesia and it i ...
,
Huahine Huahine is an island located among the Society Islands The Society Islands (french: Îles de la Société, officially ''Archipel de la Société;'' ty, Tōtaiete mā) are an archipelago located in the South Pacific Ocean. Politically, they a ...
and
Bora Bora Bora Bora (French language, French: ''Bora-Bora''; Tahitian language, Tahitian: ''Pora Pora'') is an island group in the Leeward Islands (Society Islands), Leeward Islands. The Leeward Islands comprise the western part of the Society Islands o ...
were to remain independent from both powers and that no single chief was to be allowed to reign over the entire archipelago. France eventually broke the agreement, and the islands were annexed and became a colony in 1888 (eight years after the Windward Islands) after many native resistances and conflicts called the Leewards War, lasting until 1897. In the 1880s, France claimed the
Tuamotu Archipelago The Tuamotu Archipelago or the Tuamotu Islands (french: Îles Tuamotu, officially ) are a French Polynesian chain of just under 80 islands and atolls in the southern Pacific Ocean. They constitute the largest chain of atolls in the world, extendin ...
, which formerly belonged to the Pōmare Dynasty, without formally annexing it. Having declared a protectorate over Tahuata in 1842, the French regarded the entire Marquesas Islands as French. In 1885, France appointed a governor and established a general council, thus giving it the proper administration for a colony. The islands of Rimatara and Rūrutu unsuccessfully lobbied for British protection in 1888, so in 1889 they were annexed by France. Postage stamps were first issued in the colony in 1892. The first official name for the colony was (Establishments in Oceania); in 1903 the general council was changed to an advisory council and the colony's name was changed to (French Establishments in Oceania). In 1940, the administration of French Polynesia recognised the
Free French Forces __NOTOC__ The French Liberation Army (french: Armée française de la Libération or AFL) was the reunified French Army that arose from the merging of the Armée d'Afrique with the prior Free French Forces (french: Forces françaises libres, la ...
and many Polynesians served in World War II. Unknown at the time to the French and Polynesians, the Konoe Cabinet in
Imperial Japan The also known as the Japanese Empire or Imperial Japan, was a historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 until the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of Japan, 1947 constitutio ...
on 16 September 1940 included French Polynesia among the many territories which were to become Japanese possessions, as part of the " Eastern Pacific Government-General" in the post-war world. However, in the course of the war in the Pacific the Japanese were not able to launch an actual invasion of the French islands. In 1946, Polynesians were granted French citizenship and the islands' status was changed to an overseas territory; the islands' name was changed in 1957 to (French Polynesia). In 1962, France's early
nuclear testing Nuclear weapons tests are experiments carried out to determine nuclear weapons' effectiveness, Nuclear weapon yield, yield, and explosive capability. Testing nuclear weapons offers practical information about how the weapons function, how detona ...
ground in
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , religi ...
was no longer usable when Algeria became independent and the
Moruroa atoll Moruroa (Mururoa, Mururura), also historically known as Aopuni, is an atoll An atoll () is a ring-shaped island, including a coral rim that encircles a lagoon partially or completely. There may be coral islands or cays on the rim. Atolls a ...
in the Tuamotu Archipelago was selected as the new testing site; tests were conducted underground after 1974. In 1977, French Polynesia was granted partial internal autonomy; in 1984, the autonomy was extended. French Polynesia became a full overseas collectivity of France in 2003.French Polynesia
''
The World Factbook ''The World Factbook'', also known as the ''CIA World Factbook'', is a reference resource produced by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with almanac-style information about the countries of the world. The official print version is availab ...
''.
Central Intelligence Agency The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA ), known informally as the Agency and historically as the Company, is a civilian intelligence agency, foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States, officially tasked with gat ...
.. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
In September 1995, France stirred up widespread protests by resuming nuclear testing at Fangataufa atoll after a three-year moratorium. The last test was on 27 January 1996. On 29 January 1996, France announced that it would accede to the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a multilateral treaty A multilateral treaty is a treaty to which two or more sovereign states are parties. Each party owes the same obligations to all other parties, except to the extent that ...
, and no longer test nuclear weapons. French Polynesia was relisted in the
United Nations list of non-self-governing territories Chapter XI of the United Nations Charter defines a non-self-governing territory (NSGT) as a territory "whose people have not yet attained a full measure of self-government". In practice, an NSGT is a territory deemed by the United Nations Gene ...
in 2013, making it eligible for a UN-backed independence referendum. The relisting was made after the indigenous opposition was voiced and supported by the Polynesian Leaders Group, Pacific Conference of Churches, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Non-Aligned Movement, World Council of Churches, and Melanesian Spearhead Group.


Governance

Under the terms of Article 74 of the
French constitution The current Constitution of France was adopted on 4 October 1958. It is typically called the Constitution of the Fifth Republic , and it replaced the Constitution of the Fourth Republic of 1946 with the exception of the preamble per a Constitu ...
and the
Organic Law An organic law is a law, or system of laws, that form the foundation of a government, corporation or any other organization's body of rules. A constitution is a particular form of organic law for a sovereign state. By country France Under Article ...
2014–192 on the statute of autonomy of French Polynesia, politics of French Polynesia takes place in a framework of a
parliamentary A parliamentary system, or parliamentarian democracy, is a system of democracy, democratic government, governance of a sovereign state, state (or subordinate entity) where the Executive (government), executive derives its democratic legitimacy ...
representative democratic French overseas collectivity, whereby the President of French Polynesia is the
head of government The head of government is the highest or the second-highest official in the Executive (government), executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region, or other government who often presid ...
, and of a
multi-party system In political science, a multi-party system is a political system in which multiple political parties across the political spectrum run for national elections, and all have the capacity to gain control of government offices, separately or in coal ...
.
Executive power The Executive, also referred as the Executive branch or Executive power, is the term commonly used to describe that part of government which enforces the law, and has overall responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. In poli ...
is exercised by the government.
Legislative power A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
is vested in both the government and the
Assembly of French Polynesia The Assembly of French Polynesia (french: Assemblée de la Polynésie française, Tahitian language, Tahitian: Te apo'ora'a rahi o te fenua Mā'ohi) is the Unicameralism, unicameral legislature of French Polynesia, an Overseas country of France, o ...
(the territorial assembly). Political life in French Polynesia was marked by great instability from the mid-2000s to the mid-2010s. The anti-independence right-wing president of French Polynesia, Gaston Flosse, who had been in power since 1991, had supported the resumption of the French nuclear weapons tests in 1995, and had obtained from his longtime friend and political ally
Jacques Chirac Jacques René Chirac (, , ; 29 November 193226 September 2019) was a Politics of France, French politician who served as President of France from 1995 to 2007. Chirac was previously Prime Minister of France from 1974 to 1976 and from 1986 to ...
, then president of France, a status of expanded autonomy for French Polynesia in 2004, failed to secure an absolute majority in the 2004 French Polynesian legislative election, resulting in deadlock at the
Assembly of French Polynesia The Assembly of French Polynesia (french: Assemblée de la Polynésie française, Tahitian language, Tahitian: Te apo'ora'a rahi o te fenua Mā'ohi) is the Unicameralism, unicameral legislature of French Polynesia, an Overseas country of France, o ...
. Flosse's longtime opponent, the pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru, whose pro-independence coalition had won one less seat than Flosse's party in the Assembly, was nonetheless elected president of French Polynesia by the Assembly in June 2004 thanks to the votes of two non-aligned Assembly members. This resulted in several years of political instability, as neither the pro- nor the anti-independence camps were assured of a majority, depending on the votes of smaller non-aligned parties representing the interests of the distant islands of French Polynesia (as opposed to Tahiti). Temaru was toppled from the presidency of French Polynesia in October 2004, succeeded by Flosse who was toppled in March 2005, succeeded by Temaru again who was toppled in December 2006, succeeded by Gaston Tong Sang, a close ally of Flosse. On 14 September 2007, the pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru was elected president of French Polynesia for the third time in three years (with 27 of 44 votes cast in the territorial assembly). He replaced former president Gaston Tong Sang, opposed to independence, who lost a no-confidence vote in the Assembly of French Polynesia on 31 August after the longtime former president of French Polynesia, Gaston Flosse, hitherto opposed to independence, sided with his long enemy Oscar Temaru to topple the government of Gaston Tong Sang. Oscar Temaru, however, had no stable majority in the Assembly of French Polynesia, and new territorial elections were held in February 2008 to solve the political crisis. The party of Gaston Tong Sang won the territorial elections, but that did not solve the political crisis: the two minority parties of Oscar Temaru and Gaston Flosse, who together had one more member in the territorial assembly than the political party of Gaston Tong Sang, allied to prevent Gaston Tong Sang from becoming president of French Polynesia. Gaston Flosse was then elected president of French Polynesia by the territorial assembly on 23 February 2008 with the support of the pro-independence party led by Oscar Temaru, while Oscar Temaru was elected speaker of the territorial assembly with the support of the anti-independence party led by Gaston Flosse. Both formed a coalition cabinet. Many observers doubted that the alliance between the anti-independence Gaston Flosse and the pro-independence Oscar Temaru, designed to prevent Gaston Tong Sang from becoming president of French Polynesia, could last very long. At the French municipal elections held in March 2008, several prominent mayors who were member of the Flosse-Temaru coalition lost their offices in key municipalities of French Polynesia, which was interpreted as a disapproval of the way Gaston Tong Sang, whose party French Polynesian voters had placed first in the territorial elections the month before, had been prevented from becoming president of French Polynesia by the last minute alliance between Flosse and Temaru's parties. Eventually, on 15 April 2008 the government of Gaston Flosse was toppled by a
constructive vote of no confidence The constructive vote of no confidence (german: konstruktives Misstrauensvotum, es, moción de censura constructiva) is a variation on the motion of no confidence that allows a parliament to withdraw confidence from a head of government only if t ...
in the territorial assembly when two members of the Flosse-Temaru coalition left the coalition and sided with Tong Sang's party. Tong Sang's majority in the territorial assembly was very narrow, and he was toppled in February 2009, succeeded by Temaru (supported again by Flosse). Oscar Temaru's return to power was brief as he fell out with Gaston Flosse and was toppled in November 2009, succeeded by Gaston Tong Sang. Tong Sang remained in power for a year and a half before being toppled in a vote of no confidence in April 2011, and succeeded by Temaru. Oscar Temaru's fifth stint as president of French Polynesia lasted two years, during which he campaigned for the re-inscription of French Polynesia on the
United Nations list of non-self-governing territories Chapter XI of the United Nations Charter defines a non-self-governing territory (NSGT) as a territory "whose people have not yet attained a full measure of self-government". In practice, an NSGT is a territory deemed by the United Nations Gene ...
. Temaru lost the 2013 French Polynesian legislative election by a wide margin, only two weeks before the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be ...
re-registered French Polynesia on its list of non-self governing territories. This was interpreted by political analysts as a rejection by French Polynesian voters of Temaru's push for independence as well as the consequence of the socioeconomic crisis affecting French Polynesia after years of political instability and corruption scandals. Gaston Flosse, whose anti-independence party was the big winner of the 2013 election, succeeded Oscar Temaru as president of French Polynesia in May 2013, but he was removed from office in September 2014 due to a corruption conviction by France's highest court. Flosse was replaced as president of French Polynesia by his second-in-command in the anti-independence camp, Édouard Fritch, who was also Flosse's former son-in-law (divorced from Flosse's daughter). Fritch fell out with Flosse in 2015 as both leaders were vying for control of the anti-independence camp, and Fritch was excluded from Gaston Flosse's party in September 2015, before founding his own anti-independence party, Tapura Huiraatira, in February 2016. His new party managed to keep a majority in the Assembly of French Polynesia, and Fritch remained president of French Polynesia. Political stability has returned in French Polynesia since the split of the anti-independence camp in 2015–2016. Tapura Huiraatira won 70% of the seats in the Assembly of French Polynesia at the 2018 French Polynesian legislative election, defeating both Oscar Temaru's pro-independence party and Gaston Flosse's anti-independence party, and Édouard Fritch was re-elected president of French Polynesia by the Assembly in May 2018. By 2022, Édouard Fritch was the longest-serving president of French Polynesia since Gaston Flosse in the 1990s and early 2000s.


Administration

Between 1946 and 2003, French Polynesia had the status of an overseas territory (', or ''TOM''). In 2003, it became an overseas collectivity (', or COM). Its statutory law of 27 February 2004 gives it the particular designation of '' overseas country inside the Republic'' (', or POM), but without legal modification of its status.


Relations with mainland France

Despite a local assembly and government, French Polynesia is not in a free association with France, like the
Cook Islands ) , image_map = Cook Islands on the globe (small islands magnified) (Polynesia centered).svg , capital = Avarua , coordinates = , largest_city = Avarua , official_languages = , langu ...
with
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and over 700 List of islands of New Zealand, smaller islands. It is the ...
. As a French overseas collectivity, the local government has no competence in justice, university education, security and defense. Services in these areas are directly provided and administered by the Government of France, including the
National Gendarmerie The National Gendarmerie (french: Gendarmerie nationale, ) is one of two national law enforcement forces of France, along with the National Police (France), National Police. The Gendarmerie is a branch of the French Armed Forces placed under the ...
(which also polices rural and border areas in metropolitan France), and French military forces. The collectivity government retains control over primary and secondary education, health, town planning, and the environment. The highest representative of the State in the territory is the High Commissioner of the Republic in French Polynesia (french: Haut commissaire de la République en Polynésie française). French Polynesia also sends three
deputies A legislator (also known as a deputy or lawmaker) is a person who writes and passes law Law is a set of rules that are created and are law enforcement, enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ...
to the
French National Assembly The National Assembly (french: link=no, italics=set, Assemblée nationale; ) is the lower house of the Bicameralism, bicameral French Parliament under the French Fifth Republic, Fifth Republic, the upper house being the Senate (France), Senat ...
in three constituencies, the 1st representing Papeete and its north-eastern suburbs, plus the commune (municipality) of Mo'orea-Mai'ao, the Tuāmotu-Gambier administrative division, and the Marquesas Islands administrative division, the 2nd representing much of Tahiti outside Papeete and the Austral Islands administrative subdivision, and the 3rd representing the
Leeward Islands french: Îles-Sous-le-Vent , image_name = , image_caption = ''Political'' Leeward Islands. Clockwise: Antigua and Barbuda, Guadeloupe, Saint kitts and Nevis. , image_alt = , locator_map = , location = Caribbean Sea The Caribbean Sea ( ...
administrative subdivision and the south-western suburbs of Papeete. French Polynesia also sends two senators to the
French Senate The Senate (french: Sénat, ) is the upper house of the French Parliament, with the lower house being the National Assembly (France), National Assembly, the two houses constituting the legislature of France. The French Senate is made up of 34 ...
.


Defence

The defence of the collectivity is the responsibility of the
French Armed Forces The French Armed Forces (french: Forces armées françaises) encompass the French Army, Army, the French Navy, Navy, the French Air and Space Force, Air and Space Force and the National Gendarmerie, Gendarmerie of the French Republic. The Preside ...
. Just over 1,000 military personnel are deployed in the territory – centred on the Pacific-Polynesian Marine Infantry Regiment (RIMaP-P) – along with modest air transport and surveillance assets. The latter include three Falcon 200 Gardian maritime surveillance aircraft from
French Naval Aviation French Naval Aviation (often abbreviated in French language, French to: ''Aéronavale'' (contraction of Aéronautique navale), or ''Aviation navale'', or more simply ''l'Aéro'') is the Naval aviation, naval air arm of the French Navy. The long ...
, which are to be replaced by the more modern Falcon 2000 Albatros starting in 2025. The former is composed of two CN-235 tactical transport aircraft drawn from the Air Force's ET 82 "Maine" transport squadron. Three
French Navy The French Navy (french: Marine nationale, lit=National Navy), informally , is the Navy, maritime arm of the French Armed Forces and one of the five Military branch, military service branches of France. It is among the largest and most powerfu ...
vessels are based in the territory, including: the surveillance frigate , the patrol and support ship ''Bougainville'' and the coast guard vessel ''Arago''. Flottille 35F of French naval aviation deploys a detachment of two AS 365N Dauphin helicopters in Tahiti. The helicopters carry out a variety of roles in the territory or may be embarked on ''Prairial'' as required. In late 2023 or early 2024, ''Arago'' is to be replaced by ''Teriieroo to Teriierooiterai'', a vessel of the new ''Félix Éboué'' class of patrol vessels. The French Navy will further reinforce its offshore patrol capabilities in the region by deploying a second vessel of the class (''Philip Bernardino'') to Tahiti by 2025. The
National Gendarmerie The National Gendarmerie (french: Gendarmerie nationale, ) is one of two national law enforcement forces of France, along with the National Police (France), National Police. The Gendarmerie is a branch of the French Armed Forces placed under the ...
deploys some 500 active personnel and civilians, plus around 150 reservists, in French Polynesia. The patrol boat ''Jasmin'' of the Maritime Gendarmerie is also based in the territory.


Geography

The islands of French Polynesia make up a total land area of , scattered over more than of ocean. There are 121 islands in French Polynesia and many more islets or ''motus'' around
atoll An atoll () is a ring-shaped island, including a coral rim that encircles a lagoon partially or completely. There may be coral islands or cays on the rim. Atolls are located in warm Tropics, tropical or Subtropics, subtropical oceans and seas ...
s. The highest point is Mount Orohena on Tahiti. It is made up of five archipelagos. The largest and most populated island is Tahiti, in the Society Islands. The archipelagos are: Aside from Tahiti, some other important atolls, islands, and island groups in French Polynesia are: Ahē,
Bora Bora Bora Bora (French language, French: ''Bora-Bora''; Tahitian language, Tahitian: ''Pora Pora'') is an island group in the Leeward Islands (Society Islands), Leeward Islands. The Leeward Islands comprise the western part of the Society Islands o ...
, Hiva 'Oa,
Huahine Huahine is an island located among the Society Islands The Society Islands (french: Îles de la Société, officially ''Archipel de la Société;'' ty, Tōtaiete mā) are an archipelago located in the South Pacific Ocean. Politically, they a ...
,
Mai'ao Maiao, also known as Mai'ao or Maiao in languages other than Tahitian, is an island formation located southwest of Moorea and one of the Windward Islands french: Îles du Vent , image_name = , image_caption = ''Political'' Windward Islan ...
, Maupiti, Meheti'a,
Mo'orea Moorea ( or ; Tahitian language, Tahitian: ), also spelled Moorea, is a high island, volcanic island in French Polynesia. It is one of the Windward Islands (Society Islands), Windward Islands, a group that is part of the Society Islands, nort ...
,
Nuku Hiva Nuku Hiva (sometimes spelled Nukahiva or Nukuhiva) is the largest of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas country of France in the Pacific Ocean. It was formerly also known as ''Île Marchand'' and ''Madison Island''. Herman M ...
,
Raiatea Raiatea or Ra'iatea (Tahitian language, Tahitian: ''Ra‘iātea'') is the second largest of the Society Islands, after Tahiti, in French Polynesia. The island is widely regarded as the "centre" of the eastern islands in ancient Polynesia and it i ...
, Taha'a, Tetiaroa, Tupua'i and Tūpai. French Polynesia is home to four terrestrial ecoregions: Marquesas tropical moist forests, Society Islands tropical moist forests, Tuamotu tropical moist forests, and Tubuai tropical moist forests.


Administrative divisions

French Polynesia is divided in five administrative subdivisions ('): *
Marquesas Islands The Marquesas Islands (; french: Îles Marquises or ' or '; Marquesan language, Marquesan: ' (North Marquesan language, North Marquesan) and ' (South Marquesan language, South Marquesan), both meaning "the land of men") are a group of volcano, ...
(french: les îles Marquises or officially ') *
Leeward Islands french: Îles-Sous-le-Vent , image_name = , image_caption = ''Political'' Leeward Islands. Clockwise: Antigua and Barbuda, Guadeloupe, Saint kitts and Nevis. , image_alt = , locator_map = , location = Caribbean Sea The Caribbean Sea ( ...
(french: les îles Sous-le-Vent or officially ') (the two ' Windward Islands and Leeward Islands are part of the Society Islands) *
Windward Islands french: Îles du Vent , image_name = , image_caption = ''Political'' Windward Islands. Clockwise: Dominica Dominica ( or ; Kalinago language, Kalinago: ; french: Dominique; Dominican Creole French: ), officially the Commonwealth of Domini ...
(french: les îles du Vent or officially ') (the two ' Windward Islands and Leeward Islands are part of the Society Islands) * Tuāmotu-Gambier (french: les Îles Tuamotu-Gambier or officially ') (the Tuamotus and the Gambier Islands) *
Austral Islands The Austral Islands (french: Îles Australes, officially ''Archipel des Australes;'' ty, Tuha'a Pae) are the southernmost group of islands in French Polynesia, an overseas country of the French Republic in the South Pacific. Geographically, ...
(french: les îles Australes or officially ') (including the Bass Islands) The five administrative subdivisions are not local councils; they are solely deconcentrated subdivisions of the French central State. At the head of each administrative subdivision is an ' ("State administrator"), generally simply known as ', also sometimes called ' ("head of the administrative subdivision"). The ' is a civil servant under the authority of the High Commissioner of the French Republic in French Polynesia in
Papeete Papeete ( Tahitian: ''Papeete'', pronounced ) is the capital city A capital city or capital is the municipality holding primary status in a country, state, province, Department (country subdivision), department, or other subnational entity, u ...
. Four administrative subdivisions (Marquesas Islands, Leeward Islands, Tuamotu-Gambier, and Austral Islands) each also form a deconcentrated subdivision of the government of French Polynesia. These are called ' ("districts"). The head of a ' is the ', known as ' in French ("territorial administrator"), but the Tahitian title ' is most often used. The ' is the direct representative of the president of French Polynesia's government who appoints him or her. The Windward Islands, due to their proximity to Papeete, do not form a deconcentrated subdivision of the government of French Polynesia. The 5 administrative subdivisions are themselves divided in 48
communes An intentional community is a voluntary residential community which is designed to have a high degree of group cohesiveness, social cohesion and teamwork from the start. The members of an intentional community typically hold a common social, po ...
. Like all other communes in the French Republic, these are municipalities in which local residents with either a French or another EU citizenship elect a municipal council and a mayor in charge of managing local affairs within the commune. Municipal elections occur every six years on the same date as in the rest of the French Republic (the last municipal elections took place in 2020). 30 communes are further subdivided in 98 associated communes which have each a delegate mayor and a registry office. These 30 communes were subdivided in associated communes either because they have a large land territory (particularly in the larger islands such as
Tahiti Tahiti (; Tahitian language, Tahitian ; ; previously also known as Otaheite) is the largest island of the Windward Islands (Society Islands), Windward group of the Society Islands in French Polynesia. It is located in the central part of the P ...
or
Nuku Hiva Nuku Hiva (sometimes spelled Nukahiva or Nukuhiva) is the largest of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas country of France in the Pacific Ocean. It was formerly also known as ''Île Marchand'' and ''Madison Island''. Herman M ...
) or because they are made up of
atoll An atoll () is a ring-shaped island, including a coral rim that encircles a lagoon partially or completely. There may be coral islands or cays on the rim. Atolls are located in warm Tropics, tropical or Subtropics, subtropical oceans and seas ...
s distant from each other (particularly in the Tuamotu archipelago), which led to the creation of associated communes for each inhabited atoll. 17 communes (out of French Polynesia's 48 communes) have banded together in three separate communities of communes. These indirectly elected intercommunal councils are still relatively new in French Polynesia, and unlike in
metropolitan France Metropolitan France (french: France métropolitaine or ''la Métropole''), also known as European France (french: Territoire européen de la France) is the area of France which is geographically in Europe. This collective name for the European ...
and its overseas regions it is not mandatory for the communes in French Polynesia to join an intercommunal council. The three intercommunal councils in existence as of 2022, all formed on a voluntary basis, were: * community of communes of the Marquesas Islands (in French: ''communauté de communes des îles Marquises'', or CODIM), formed in 2010 by all the communes in the administrative subdivision of the Marquesas Islands * community of communes Hava'i (in French: ''communauté de communes Hava'i'', or CCH), formed in 2012 by all the communes in the administrative subdivision of the Leeward Islands, with the exception of Bora-Bora which preferred to remain separate for financial reasons * community of communes Terehēamanu (in French: ''communauté de communes Terehēamanu''), formed in 2021 by 5
exurb An exurb (or alternately: exurban area) is an area outside the typically denser inner suburbs, suburban area, at the edge of a metropolitan area, which has some economic and commuting connection to the metro area, low housing density, and grow ...
an and rural communes on the eastern side of the island of
Tahiti Tahiti (; Tahitian language, Tahitian ; ; previously also known as Otaheite) is the largest island of the Windward Islands (Society Islands), Windward group of the Society Islands in French Polynesia. It is located in the central part of the P ...
: Hitiaa O Te Ra, Taiarapu-Est, Taiarapu-Ouest, Teva I Uta, and Papara. These communities of communes, as elsewhere in the French Republic, are not full-fledged
territorial collectivities A territorial collectivity (french: collectivité territoriale, previously '), or territorial authority, is a chartered Administrative division, subdivision of France with recognized governing authority. It is the generic name for any subdivision ...
, but only federations of communes. From a legal standpoint, the only territorial collectivities in French Polynesia are the overseas collectivity of French Polynesia and the 48 communes.


Demographics

Total population was 278,786 according to the August 18, 2022 census, 68.7% of whom lived on the island of
Tahiti Tahiti (; Tahitian language, Tahitian ; ; previously also known as Otaheite) is the largest island of the Windward Islands (Society Islands), Windward group of the Society Islands in French Polynesia. It is located in the central part of the P ...
alone. The urban area of Papeete, the capital city, has 136,771 inhabitants (2017 census). At the 2017 census, 89.0% of people living in French Polynesia had been born there (up from 87.3% in 2007); 8.1% had been born in
Metropolitan France Metropolitan France (french: France métropolitaine or ''la Métropole''), also known as European France (french: Territoire européen de la France) is the area of France which is geographically in Europe. This collective name for the European ...
(down from 9.3% in 2007); 1.2% were born elsewhere in
overseas France Overseas France (french: France d'outre-mer) consists of 13 French-administered territories outside Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the ...
(down from 1.4% in 2007); and 1.7% were from foreign countries (down from 2.0% in 2007). The population of natives of Metropolitan France living in French Polynesia has declined in relative terms since the 1980s, but in absolute terms their population peaked at the 2007 census, when 24,265 lived in French Polynesia (not counting their children born there). With the local economic crisis, their population declined to 22,278 at the 2012 census, and 22,387 at the 2017 census. At the 1988 census, the last census which asked questions regarding ethnicity, 66.5% of people were ethnically unmixed
Polynesians Polynesians form an ethnolinguistic group of closely related people who are Indigenous peoples of Oceania , native to Polynesia (islands in the Polynesian Triangle), an expansive region of Oceania in the Pacific Ocean. They trace their early pre ...
, 7.1% were ethnically Polynesians with light European and/or East Asian mixing, 11.9% were
Europeans Europeans are the focus of European ethnology, the field of anthropology related to the various ethnic groups that reside in the List of sovereign states and dependent territories in Europe, states of Europe. Groups may be defined by common gen ...
(mostly French), 9.3% were people of mixed European and Polynesian descent, the so-called Demis (literally meaning "Half"), and 4.7% were
East Asians East Asian people (East Asians) are the people from East Asia, which consists of China, Taiwan, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, and South Korea. The total population of all countries within this region is estimated to be 1.677 billion and 21% of the ...
(mainly Chinese). Chinese, Demis, and the white populace are essentially concentrated on the island of Tahiti, particularly in the urban area of Papeete, where their share of the population is thus much greater than in French Polynesia overall. Despite a long history of ethnic mixing, ethnic tensions have been growing in recent years, with politicians using a
xenophobic Xenophobia () is the fear or dislike of anything which is perceived as being foreign or strange. It is an expression of perceived conflict between an in-group and out-group and may manifest in suspicion by the one of the other's activities, a ...
discourse and fanning the flame of nationalism.


Historical population


Culture


Languages

All the indigenous languages of French Polynesia are Polynesian. French Polynesia has been linguistically diverse since ancient times, with each community having its own local speech variety. These dialects can be grouped into seven languages on the basis of
mutual intelligibility In linguistics, mutual intelligibility is a relationship between languages or dialects in which speakers of different but related Variety (linguistics), varieties can readily understand each other without prior familiarity or special effort. It ...
: Tahitian, Tuamotuan, Rapa, Austral, North Marquesan, South Marquesan, and Mangarevan. Some of these, especially Tuamotuan, are really
dialect continua A dialect continuum or dialect chain is a series of Variety (linguistics), language varieties spoken across some geographical area such that neighboring varieties are Mutual intelligibility, mutually intelligible, but the differences accumulat ...
formed by a patchwork of different dialects. The distinction between languages and dialects is notoriously difficult to establish, and so some authors may view two varieties as dialects of the same language, while others may view them as distinct languages. In this way, North and South Marquesan are often grouped together as a single Marquesan language, and Rapa is often viewed as part of Austral subfamily. At the same time, Ra'ivavae is often viewed as distinct from them. French is the sole official language of French Polynesia. An
organic law An organic law is a law, or system of laws, that form the foundation of a government, corporation or any other organization's body of rules. A constitution is a particular form of organic law for a sovereign state. By country France Under Article ...
of 12 April 1996 states that "French is the official language, Tahitian and other Polynesian languages can be used." At the 2017 census, among the population whose age was 15 and older, 73.9% of people reported that the language they spoke the most at home was French (up from 68.6% at the 2007 census), 20.2% reported that the language they spoke the most at home was Tahitian (down from 24.3% at the 2007 census), 2.6% reported Marquesan and 0.2% the related Mangareva language (same percentages for both at the 2007 census), 1.2% reported any of the Austral languages (down from 1.3% at the 2007 census), 1.0% reported Tuamotuan (down from 1.5% at the 2007 census), 0.6% reported a Chinese dialect (41% of which was
Hakka The Hakka (), sometimes also referred to as Hakka Han, or Hakka Chinese, or Hakkas are a Han Chinese Han Chinese subgroups, subgroup whose ancestral homes are chiefly in the Hakka Chinese, Hakka-speaking provincial areas of Guangdong, Fujian, ...
) (down from 1.0% at the 2007 census), and 0.4% another language (more than half of which was English) (down from 0.5% at the 2007 census). At the same census, 95.2% of people whose age was 15 or older reported that they could speak, read and write French (up from 94.7% at the 2007 census), whereas only 1.3% reported that they had no knowledge of French (down from 2.0% at the 2007 census). 86.5% of people whose age was 15 or older reported that they had some form of knowledge of at least one Polynesian language (up from 86.4% at the 2007 census but down from 87.8% at the 2012 census), whereas 13.5% reported that they had no knowledge of any of the Polynesian languages (down from 13.6% at the 2007 census but up from 12.2% at the 2012 census).


Music

French Polynesia appeared in the world music scene in 1992, recorded by French musicologist Pascal Nabet-Meyer with the release of The Tahitian Choir's recordings of unaccompanied vocal Christian music called himene tārava. This form of singing is common in French Polynesia and the Cook Islands, and is notable for a unique drop in pitch at the end of the phrases, a characteristic formed by several different voices, accompanied by a steady grunting of staccato, nonlexical syllables.


Religion

Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...
is the main religion of the islands. A majority of 54% belongs to various
Protestant Protestantism is a branch of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Na ...
churches, especially the Maohi Protestant Church, which is the largest and accounts for more than 50% of the population. It traces its origins to
Pōmare II Pōmare II (c. 1782 – December 7, 1821) (fully Tu Tunuieaiteatua Pōmare II or in modern orthography Tū Tū-nui-ʻēʻa-i-te-atua Pōmare II; historically misspelled as Tu Tunuiea'aite-a-tua), was the second List of monarchs of Tahiti, king of ...
, the king of Tahiti, who converted from traditional beliefs to the
Reformed tradition Calvinism (also called the Reformed Tradition, Reformed Protestantism, Reformed Christianity, or simply Reformed) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the Christian theology, theological tradition and forms of Christianity, Christ ...
brought to the islands by the
London Missionary Society The London Missionary Society was an interdenominational evangelical Evangelicalism (), also called evangelical Christianity or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide Interdenominationalism, interdenominational movement within Protesta ...
. Latin Rite
Catholics The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide . It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a ...
constitute a large minority of 38.3% of the population (2019) which has its own
ecclesiastical province An ecclesiastical province is one of the basic forms of Ecclesiastical jurisdiction, jurisdiction in Christianity, Christian Churches with traditional hierarchical structure, including Western Christianity and Eastern Christianity. In general, an ...
, comprising the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Papeete and its only
suffragan A suffragan bishop is a type of bishop in some Christian denominations. In the Anglican Communion, a suffragan bishop is a bishop who is subordinate to a metropolitan bishop or diocesan bishop (bishop ordinary) and so is not normally jurisdictiona ...
, the Diocese of Taiohae. The number and proportion of Catholics has increased significantly since 1950, when they represented 21.6% of the total population. Data from 1991 revealed that Catholics were in the majority in the
Tuamotu Islands The Tuamotu Archipelago or the Tuamotu Islands (french: Îles Tuamotu, officially ) are a French Polynesia )Territorial motto: ( en, "Great Tahiti of the Golden Haze") , anthem = , song_type = Regional anthem , song = "Ia Ora 'O Tahiti Nui" ...
,
Gambier Islands The Gambier Islands ( or ) are an archipelago in French Polynesia, located at the southeast terminus of the Tuamotu archipelago. They cover an area of , and are made up of the Mangareva Islands, a group of high islands remnants of a caldera alo ...
and the
Marquesas Islands The Marquesas Islands (; french: Îles Marquises or ' or '; Marquesan language, Marquesan: ' (North Marquesan language, North Marquesan) and ' (South Marquesan language, South Marquesan), both meaning "the land of men") are a group of volcano, ...
, while Protestants formed the majority in the
Austral Islands The Austral Islands (french: Îles Australes, officially ''Archipel des Australes;'' ty, Tuha'a Pae) are the southernmost group of islands in French Polynesia, an overseas country of the French Republic in the South Pacific. Geographically, ...
and several of the
Society Islands The Society Islands (french: Îles de la Société, officially ''Archipel de la Société;'' ty, Tōtaiete mā) are an archipelago located in the South Pacific Ocean. Politically, they are part of French Polynesia, an overseas country of France, ...
such as Tahiti. This diversity is due to the fact that Protestant missionaries (from
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
and the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
) first came to one group of islands, and after French colonisation the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...
spread to several more scattered islands, but also to the main island of Tahiti.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a Nontrinitarianism, nontrinitarian Christianity, Christian church that considers itself to be the Restorationism, restoration of the ...
had 28,147 members .
Community of Christ The Community of Christ, known from 1872 to 2001 as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), is an American-based international church, and is the second-largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement. The churc ...
, another denomination within the Latter-Day Saint tradition, claimed 9,256 total French Polynesian members as of 2018 including Mareva Arnaud Tchong who serves in the church's governing Council of Twelve Apostles. There were about 3,000
Jehovah's Witnesses Jehovah's Witnesses is a Millenarianism, millenarian Restorationism, restorationist Christian denomination with Nontrinitarianism, nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The group reports a worldwide membership of appr ...
in Tahiti , and an estimated 500 Muslims in French Polynesia.


Cuisine

Due to the island location and the fact that the French Polynesia produce a significant array of fruits and vegetables, natural local produce, especially coconut, features in many of the dishes of the islands as does fresh seafood. foods like Faraoa 'ipo, Poisson cru and Rēti'a.


Sports


Football

The
sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain, or improve physical ability and Skill, skills while providing enjoyment to participants and, in some cases, entertainment to specta ...
of
football Football is a family of team sports that involve, to varying degrees, Kick (football), kicking a Football (ball), ball to score a Goal (sport), goal. Unqualified, Football (word), the word ''football'' normally means the form of football tha ...
in the island of
Tahiti Tahiti (; Tahitian language, Tahitian ; ; previously also known as Otaheite) is the largest island of the Windward Islands (Society Islands), Windward group of the Society Islands in French Polynesia. It is located in the central part of the P ...
is run by the Fédération Tahitienne de Football.


Va'a

The Polynesian traditional sport
va'a Vaʻa is a word in Samoan, Hawaiian and Tahitian which means 'boat', 'canoe' or 'ship'. A larger traditional seagoing vessel for long-distance voyages is referred to as ''vaʻa tele'' (big ship). The term ''alia'' is also used for larger vessel ...
is practiced in all the islands. French Polynesia hosts the an international race between Tahiti, Huahine and Bora Bora.


Surfing

French Polynesia is famous for its reef break waves. Teahupo'o is probably the most renowned, regularly ranked in the best waves of the world. This site hosts the annual Billabong Pro Tahiti surf competition, the 7th stop of the World Championship Tour, and is scheduled to host the surfing events of the
2024 Summer Olympics The 2024 Summer Olympics (french: Jeux olympiques d'été de 2024), officially the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad (french: Jeux de la XXXIIIe Olympiade, links=no) and also known as Paris 2024, is an upcoming international multi-sport event that is s ...
.


Kitesurfing

There are many spots to practice kitesurfing in French Polynesia, with Tahiti, Moorea, Bora-Bora, Maupiti and Raivavae being among the most iconic.


Diving

French Polynesia is internationally known for diving. Each archipelago offers opportunities for divers.
Rangiroa Rangiroa (Tuamotuan language, Tuamotuan for 'vast sky') or Te Kokōta (Cook Islands Māori for 'the Hyades (star cluster), Hyades star cluster') is the largest atoll in the Tuamotus and one of the largest in the world (smaller than Kwajalein in ...
and
Fakarava Fakarava, Havaiki-te-araro, Havai'i or Farea is an atoll in the west of the Tuamotu group in French Polynesia. It is the second largest of the Tuamotu atolls. The nearest land is Toau, a coral atoll which lies to the northwest. The atoll is ro ...
in the
Tuamotu The Tuamotu Archipelago or the Tuamotu Islands (french: Îles Tuamotu, officially ) are a French Polynesia )Territorial motto: ( en, "Great Tahiti of the Golden Haze") , anthem = , song_type = Regional anthem , song = "Ia Ora 'O Tahiti Nui" ...
islands are the most famous spots in the area.


Rugby

Rugby is also popular in French Polynesia, specifically Rugby union.


Television

Television channels with local programming include Polynésie la 1ère (established in 1965) and Tahiti Nui Television (established in 2000). Channels from metropolitan France are also available.


Economy and infrastructure

The legal tender of French Polynesia is the
CFP franc The CFP franc (French language, French: , called the ''franc'' in everyday use) is the currency used in the France, French overseas collectivity, overseas collectivities (, or COM) of French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Wallis and Futuna. The i ...
which has a fixed exchange rate with the
euro The euro (currency symbol, symbol: euro sign, €; ISO 4217, code: EUR) is the official currency of 19 out of the Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Union (EU). This group of states is known as the eurozone o ...
. The nominal
gross domestic product Gross domestic product (GDP) is a money, monetary Measurement in economics, measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced and sold (not resold) in a specific time period by countries. Due to its complex and subjec ...
(or GDP) of French Polynesia in 2019 was 6.01 billion U.S. dollars at market exchange rates, the seventh-largest economy in Oceania after
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. With an area of , Australia is the largest country by ...
,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and over 700 List of islands of New Zealand, smaller islands. It is the ...
,
Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States, Western United States, located in the Pacific Ocean about from the U.S. mainland. It is the only U.S. state outside North America, the only state that is ...
,
Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea (abbreviated PNG; , ; tpi, Papua Niugini; ho, Papua Niu Gini), officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea ( tpi, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niugini; ho, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niu Gini), is a country i ...
,
New Caledonia ) , anthem = "" , image_map = New Caledonia on the globe (small islands magnified) (Polynesia centered).svg , map_alt = Location of New Caledonia , map_caption = Location of New Caledonia , mapsize = 290px , subdivision_type = Sovereign st ...
, and
Guam Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an Unincorporated territories of the United States, organized, unincorporated territory of the United States in the Micronesia subregion of the western Pacific Ocean. It is the List of extreme points of the United Stat ...
. The GDP per capita was US$21,615 in 2019 (at market exchange rates, not at PPP), lower than in Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Guam, and New Caledonia, but higher than in all other independent insular states and dependent territories of
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a region, geographical region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Western Hemisphere, Western hemispheres, Oceania is estimated to have a land area of ...
. French Polynesia was severely affected by the
Global Financial Crisis of 2008 Global means of or referring to a globe and may also refer to: Entertainment * Global (Paul van Dyk album), ''Global'' (Paul van Dyk album), 2003 * Global (Bunji Garlin album), ''Global'' (Bunji Garlin album), 2007 * Global (Humanoid album), ''Gl ...
and subsequent
Great Recession The Great Recession was a period of marked general decline, i.e. a recession, observed in national economies globally that occurred from late 2007 into 2009. The scale and timing of the recession varied from country to country (see map). At t ...
, and experienced as a result 4 years of
recession In economics Economics () is the social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the b ...
from 2009 to 2012. French Polynesia renewed with economic growth in 2013, and experienced strong economic growth in the 2nd half of the 2010s, with an average
real GDP Real gross domestic product (real GDP) is a macroeconomics, macroeconomic measure of the value of economic output (economics), output adjusted for price changes (i.e. inflation (economics), inflation or deflation). This adjustment transforms the m ...
growth rate of +2.8% per year from 2016 to 2019, before being affected by the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The novel virus was first identif ...
in 2020, which has led to another recession. French Polynesia has a moderately developed economy, which is dependent on imported goods, tourism, and the financial assistance of mainland France. Tourist facilities are well developed and are available on the major islands. Main agricultural productions are
coconut The coconut tree (''Cocos nucifera'') is a member of the palm tree family (biology), family (Arecaceae) and the only living species of the genus ''Cocos''. The term "coconut" (or the archaic "cocoanut") can refer to the whole coconut palm, ...
s (
copra Copra (from ) is the dried, white flesh of the coconut from which coconut oil is extracted. Traditionally, the coconuts are sun-dried, especially for export, before the oil, also known as copra oil, is pressed out. The oil extracted from copr ...
), vegetables and fruits. French Polynesia exports
noni ''Morinda citrifolia'' is a fruit-bearing tree in the coffee family, Rubiaceae. Its native range extends across Southeast Asia and Australasia, and was spread across the Pacific by Polynesian navigation, Polynesian sailors. The species is now cu ...
juice, a high quality
vanilla Vanilla is a spice derived from orchids of the genus ''Vanilla (genus), Vanilla'', primarily obtained from pods of the Mexican species, flat-leaved vanilla (''Vanilla planifolia, V. planifolia''). Pollination is required to make the p ...
, and the famous black Tahitian pearls which accounted for 55% of exports (in value) in 2008. French Polynesia's seafloor contains rich deposits of
nickel Nickel is a chemical element with Chemical symbol, symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel is a hard and Ductility, ductile transition metal. Pure nickel is chemically reactive bu ...
,
cobalt Cobalt is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Co and atomic number 27. As with nickel, cobalt is found in the Earth's crust only in a chemically combined form, save for small deposits found in alloys of natural meteoric iron. T ...
,
manganese Manganese is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Mn and atomic number 25. It is a hard, brittle, silvery metal, often found in minerals in combination with iron. Manganese is a transition metal with a multifaceted array of ...
, and
copper Copper is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Cu (from la, cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductility, ductile metal with very high thermal conductivity, thermal and electrical conductivity. A fre ...
that are not exploited. In 2008, French Polynesia's imports amounted to 2.2 billion U.S. dollars and exports amounted to 0.2 billion U.S. dollars.


Transportation

There are 53 airports in French Polynesia; 46 are paved. Fa'a'ā International Airport is the only international airport in French Polynesia. Each island has its own airport that serves flights to other islands. Air Tahiti is the main airline that flies around the islands.


Communication

In 2017, Alcatel Submarine Networks, a unit of
Nokia Nokia Corporation (natively Nokia Oyj, referred to as Nokia) is a Finnish multinational corporation, multinational telecommunications industry, telecommunications, technology company, information technology, and consumer electronics corporatio ...
, launched a project to connect many of the islands in French Polynesia with underwater fiber optic cable. The project, called NATITUA, is intended to improve French Polynesian broadband connectivity by linking Tahiti to 10 islands in the Tuamotu and Marquesas archipelagos. In August 2018, a celebration was held to commemorate the arrival of a submarine cable from
Papeete Papeete ( Tahitian: ''Papeete'', pronounced ) is the capital city A capital city or capital is the municipality holding primary status in a country, state, province, Department (country subdivision), department, or other subnational entity, u ...
to the atoll of Hao, extending the network by about 1000 kilometres.


Notable people

* Taïna Barioz (born 1988), World Champion skier representing France. * Billy Besson, Olympic sailor representing France * Michel Bourez (born 1985), professional surfer. * Cheyenne Brando (1970–1995), model, daughter of
Marlon Brando Marlon Brando Jr. (April 3, 1924 – July 1, 2004) was an American actor. Considered one of the most influential actors of the 20th century, he received List of awards and nominations received by Marlon Brando, numerous accolades throughout hi ...
and Tarita Teriipaia. *
Jacques Brel Jacques Romain Georges Brel (, ; 8 April 1929 – 9 October 1978) was a Belgian singer and actor who composed and performed literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that generated a large, devoted following—initially in Belgium and France, l ...
(1929–1978), Belgian musician who lived in French Polynesia near the end of his life. * Jean Gabilou, singer (born 1944), represented France in the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest. * Chantal Galenon, politician and women's rights activist. *
Paul Gauguin Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (, ; ; 7 June 1848 – 8 May 1903) was a French Post-Impressionist artist. Unappreciated until after his death, Gauguin is now recognized for his experimental use of colour and Synthetism, Synthetist style that were d ...
(1848–1903), French
post-impressionist Post-Impressionism (also spelled Postimpressionism) was a predominantly French art movement that developed roughly between 1886 and 1905, from the last Impressionism, Impressionist exhibition to the birth of Fauvism. Post-Impressionism emerged as ...
painter who spent the last years of his life in French Polynesia. *
Conrad Hall Conrad Lafcadio Hall, (June 21, 1926 – January 4, 2003) was a French Polynesia )Territorial motto: ( en, "Great Tahiti of the Golden Haze") , anthem = , song_type = Regional anthem , song = "Ia Ora 'O Tahiti Nui" , image_map = Fre ...
(1926–2003), American cinematographer. * Vaitiare Hirson-Asars (born 1964), actress. *
Ella Koon Ella Koon Yun-na (born 9 July 1979) is a former Hong Kong Cantopop singer and semi-retired actress. Biography Ella Koon was born in the French Polynesian island of Tahiti, and is of Hakka descent. She was raised in Hong Kong and attended high sch ...
(born 1979), singer, actress and model. * Karina Lombard (born 1969), French-American model and actress. * Pouvāna'a 'Ō'opa (1895–1977), politician and Tahitian nationalist. *
Fabrice Santoro Fabrice Vetea Santoro (born 9 December 1972) is a French retired tennis player. Successful in both singles and doubles, he had an unusually long professional career, with many of his accomplishments coming toward the end of his career, and he is ...
(born 1972), professional tennis player. * Tarita Teriipaia (born 1941), actress, third wife of Marlon Brando. * Marama Vahirua (born 1980), footballer, cousin of Pascal Vahirua. * Pascal Vahirua (born 1966), French former international footballer. * Célestine Hitiura Vaite (born 1966), writer.


See also

* Outline of French Polynesia * Index of French Polynesia-related articles *
List of colonial and departmental heads of French Polynesia The High Commissioner of the Republic in French Polynesia (french: Haut-Commissaire de la République en Polynésie française) is the highest representative of the France, French Republic in the Overseas country of France, overseas country of F ...
*
French colonial empire The French colonial empire () comprised the overseas colonies, protectorates and mandate territories that came under French rule from the 16th century onward. A distinction is generally made between the "First French Colonial Empire", that exis ...
*
List of French possessions and colonies From the 16th to the 17th centuries, the First French colonial empire stretched from a total area at its peak in 1680 to over , the second largest empire in the world at the time behind only the Spanish Empire. During the 19th and 20th centuri ...
* Lists of islands


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * James Rogers and Luis Simón
The Status and Location of the Military Installations of the Member States of the European Union and Their Potential Role for the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP).
Brussels: European Parliament, 2009. 25 pp. * Jean-Marc Régnault, ''Le pouvoir confisqué en Polynésie française. L'affrontement Temaru-Flosse''. Les Indes savantes, 2005. *


External links

; Government
High Commission of the Republic in French Polynesia

Presidency of French Polynesia

Assembly of French Polynesia

Legal publication service in French Polynesia

Administrative Subdivisions of French Polynesia
; General information *
Encyclopédie collaborative du patrimoine culturel et naturel polynésien

French Polynesia
''
The World Factbook ''The World Factbook'', also known as the ''CIA World Factbook'', is a reference resource produced by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with almanac-style information about the countries of the world. The official print version is availab ...
''.
Central Intelligence Agency The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA ), known informally as the Agency and historically as the Company, is a civilian intelligence agency, foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States, officially tasked with gat ...
.
French Polynesia
at ''UCB Libraries GovPubs'' * * ; Travel
Official Tourism Website
{{Authority control 1842 establishments in Oceania 1842 establishments in the French colonial empire European colonisation in Oceania French-speaking countries and territories Geography of Polynesia Island countries Overseas collectivities of France Small Island Developing States States and territories established in 1842