Coordinates : 9°27′16″S 139°23′20″W / 9.45444°S 139.38889°W / -9.45444; -139.38889
LOCATION Pacific Ocean
TOTAL ISLANDS 15
AREA 1,049.3 km2 (405.1 sq mi)
HIGHEST ELEVATION 1,230 m (4,040 ft)
OVERSEAS COLLECTIVITY French Polynesia
CAPITAL CITY Tai o Hae
POPULATION 9,264 (Aug. 2012 census)
POP. DENSITY 9 /km2 (23 /sq mi)
* UTC-9:30 (UTC-9:30 )
The MARQUESAS ISLANDS (/mɑːrˈkeɪsəs/ ; French : Îles Marquises
or Archipel des Marquises or Marquises; Marquesan : Te Henua (K)enana
(North Marquesan ) and Te Fenua ʻEnata (South Marquesan ), both
meaning "The Land of Men") are a group of volcanic islands in French
Polynesia , an overseas collectivity of
Based on 2010 studies, new research suggests that the islands were colonized rapidly in two waves by indigenous colonists from West Polynesia, beginning c. 1025–1120 AD, leading to development of a "remarkably uniform culture, human biology and language."
* 1 History
* 1.1 Historical culture * 1.2 European contact
* 2 Government and politics
* 3 Geography
* 3.1 Islands of the Marquesas
* 3.1.1 Northern Marquesas * 3.1.2 Southern Marquesas * 3.1.3 Seamounts
* 4 Climate * 5 Geology * 6 Administration
* 7 Language
* 7.1 2007 language data in census
* 8 Demographics
* 8.1 Historical population * 8.2 Migrations
* 9 Communications
* 9.1 Airports * 9.2 Telecommunications
* 10 Culture * 11 Biology * 12 Representation in culture * 13 See also * 14 References * 15 Further reading * 16 External links
Kaimoko family. Headdress (Peueʻei), 19th century. Porpoise
teeth, beads, coir. It is likely that this woman's headdress was made
on the island of Ua Pou, where a great number of porpoises were
available. In Marquesian Polynesian language, ei means treasure. From
the collection of the
The first recorded settlers of the Marquesas were Polynesians , who, from archaeological evidence, were long believed by scholars to have arrived from West Polynesia before 100 AD; other estimates were settlement from 600 AD.
However, a 2010 study using revised, high-precision radiocarbon dating based on more reliable samples has established that the period of eastern Polynesian colonization took place much later, in a shorter time frame of two waves: the "earliest in the Society Islands A.D. ∼1025–1120, four centuries later than previously assumed; then after 70–265 years, dispersal continued in one major pulse to all remaining islands A.D. ∼1190–1290." This rapid colonization is believed to account for the "remarkable uniformity of East Polynesia culture, biology and language." The new information will require major reworking of scholarship about the development of linguistics and culture in the islands. Ethnological and linguistic evidence suggests that they likely migrated from the Western regions of Polynesia.
The rich environment of the islands supported a large population. They lived by fishing, eating both fish and shellfish. They used breadfruit and raised other foods.
The first Europeans to reach the Marquesas may have been the crew of
San Lesmes, a Spanish vessel which disappeared in a storm in June
1526; it was part of an expedition headed by García Jofre de Loaísa
. The islands were given their name by Spanish explorer Álvaro de
Mendaña , who reached them seventy years later on 21 July 1595. He
named them after his patron, García Hurtado de Mendoza, 5th Marquis
of Cañete (Spanish : Marqués de Cañete), who was
Viceroy of Peru at
the time. Mendaña visited first
Fatu Hiva and then
continuing on to the
In the late 16th century, European explorers estimated the population to have been more than 100,000. Europeans and Americans were impressed with how easy life appeared to be in the islands, which had a rich habitat and environment. In 1791 the American maritime fur trader Joseph Ingraham first visited the northern Marquesas while commanding the brig Hope . He named them as the Washington Islands. In 1813, Commodore David Porter claimed Nuku Hiva for the United States, but the United States Congress never ratified that claim.
Of all major island groups in the Pacific, the Marquesas suffered the
greatest population decline in
Polynesia from endemic diseases carried
by Western explorers. The indigenous people suffered high rates of
mortality, as they had no immunity to the new diseases. Such
infectious diseases as smallpox , measles and others reduced the
eighteenth-century population of over 78,000 inhabitants to about
20,000 by the middle of the nineteenth century. By the turn of the
20th century, the islands' population was reduced to just over 4,000.
During the course of the twentieth century, the population increased,
reaching 8,548 at the November 2002 census, not including the
Marquesan community residing on
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
The sparsely populated
Residents of the Marquesas have chafed at Tahiti's overwhelming
dominance, complaining of neglect by politicians based in Tahiti, and
leaders have suggested developing a direct relationship with the
metropole, the government in Paris, instead of depending on
In contrast to the tendency to associate
Polynesia with lush tropical
vegetation, the Marquesas are remarkably dry islands. Though the
islands lie within the tropics, they are the first major break in the
prevailing easterly winds that spawn from the extraordinarily dry
(from an atmospheric perspective)
Humboldt Current . Because of this,
the islands are subject to frequent drought conditions, and only those
that reach highest into the clouds (generally, above about 750 m /
2,500 ft above sea level) have reliable precipitation. This has led to
historical fluctuations in water supply, which have played a crucial
role in the sustainability of human populations in certain sections of
the various islands throughout the archipelago. This is especially
evident in the low historical population of
Ua Huka (maximum elevation
857 m m / 2,812 ft.) and the intermittent inhabitability of Eiao
(maximum elevation 576 m m / 1,890 ft.). The
ISLANDS OF THE MARQUESAS
There are also a number of seamounts or shoals, located primarily in the area of the northern Marquesas. Among these are:
* Clark Bank * Hinakura Bank * Lawson Bank * Bank Jean Goguel
See also: Marquesas Islands names
Temperatures in the Marquesas are stable year around, but
precipitation is highly variable.
Precipitation is much greater on the
north and east (windward) parts of the islands than on the western
(leeward) parts. Average annual precipitation can vary from more than
100 inches (2,500 mm) on windward shores and mountains to a low as 20
inches (510 mm) in the "desert" region of Nuku Hiva. Droughts,
sometimes lasting several years, are frequent and seem to be
associated with the
CLIMATE DATA FOR ATUONA, HIVA ʻOA
MONTH JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC YEAR
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F) 30 (86) 31 (87) 31 (87) 31 (87) 29 (85) 29 (84) 28 (83) 28 (83) 29 (84) 29 (85) 30 (86) 30 (86) 29 (85)
DAILY MEAN °C (°F) 27 (81) 27 (81) 28 (82) 28 (82) 27 (80) 26 (79) 26 (78) 26 (78) 26 (79) 26 (79) 27 (80) 27 (81) 27 (80)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F) 23 (74) 24 (75) 24 (76) 24 (76) 24 (75) 23 (74) 23 (74) 23 (73) 23 (73) 23 (73) 23 (74) 23 (74) 23 (74)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES) 114 (4.5) 91 (3.6) 137 (5.4) 117 (4.6) 122 (4.8) 175 (6.9) 122 (4.8) 100 (4) 81 (3.2) 79 (3.1) 66 (2.6) 89 (3.5) 1,293 (50.9)
The bulk of the
Except for Motu One , all the Marquesas are high islands . Motu One is a low island , comprising two small sand banks awash on a coral reef . Unlike the majority of French Polynesian islands, the Marquesas are not surrounded by protective fringing reefs. Except for Motu One, and in bays and other protected areas, the only other coral in the Marquesas is found in a rather strange place: on the top of the island of Fatu Huku . The South Equatorial Current lashes the islands mercilessly, which has led to sea-caves dotting the islands' shores. Except for where the valleys empty into the small bays, the islands are remarkable for their mountain ridges, which end abruptly as cliffs where they meet the sea. The islands are estimated to range in age from the youngest, Fatu Hiva (1.3 my) to the oldest, Eiao (6 my).
See also: Flags of the Marquesas Islands
Acting as the representative of the French central State and delegate of Papeete's High Commissioner, the administrateur of the Marquesas is in charge of:
* Offering legal advice to the communes (municipalities) of the
Marquesas and verifying the legality of decisions made by the communes
* Issuing official documents (ID cards , driving licences , etc.),
applying immigration rules, organising elections
* Managing security (coordination of gendarmerie forces, handling of
major crises such as natural disasters, etc.)
* Overseeing public services of the French central State in the
As a deconcentrated subdivision of the government of French
The tavana hau is in charge of:
* Coordinating the work of French Polynesian administrations in the
The areas and populations of the communes at the 2012 Census were as follows:
Main article: Marquesan language
French and Tahitian are the only official languages of all of French Polynesia, but the Marquesan languages , in their various forms, remain the primary means of communication among residents within this archipelago.
MARQUESAN is a collection of East-Central Polynesian dialects, of the
Marquesic group, spoken in the
The North Marquesan dialects are spoken on the islands of Ua Pu and Nuku Hiva , and South Marquesan dialects on the islands of Hiva ʻOa , Tahuata and Fatu Hiva . The dialects of Ua Huka are often incorrectly classified as North Marquesan; they are instead transitional. While the island is in the northern Marquesas group, the dialects show more morphological and phonological affinities with South Marquesan. The North Marquesan dialects are sometimes considered to be two separate languages: North Marquesan and Tai Pi Marquesan , the latter being spoken in the valleys of the eastern third of the island of Nuku Hiva, in the ancient province of Tai Pi .
The most striking feature of the Marquesan languages is their almost universal replacement of the /r/ or /l/ of other Polynesian languages by a /ʔ/ (glottal stop).
Like other Polynesian languages, the phonology of Marquesan languages is characterised by a paucity of consonants and a comparative abundance of vowels.
2007 LANGUAGE DATA IN CENSUS
At the 2007 census, 94.1% of the population whose age was 15 and older reported that they could speak French. 90.2% reported that they could also read and write it. Only 4.4% of the population whose age was 15 and older had no knowledge of French.
At the same census, 67.8% of the population whose age was 15 and older reported that the language they spoke the most at home was Marquesan . 30.1% reported that French was the language they spoke the most at home. 1.4% reported Tahitian , and 0.7% reported another language.
7.2% of the population whose age was 15 and older reported that they had no knowledge of any Polynesian language at the 2007 census.
1971 1977 1983 1988 1996 2002 2007 2012
5,593 5,419 6,548 7,358 8,064 8,548 8,632 9,264
Official figures from past censuses.
The places of birth of the 8,632 residents of the Marquesas Islands at the 2007 census were the following:
* 70.5% were born in the Marquesas Islands
* 20.9% in
There are four airports in the Marquesas, one each on the islands of Nuku Hiva , Ua Pu , Ua Huka , and Hiva ʻOa . The terrain of Tahuata is too irregular to allow for the construction of a landing strip without significant investment, and while the upland plateau of central Fatu Hiva is large enough to permit the construction of an airstrip, the island's minuscule population makes such an exercise of dubious benefit.
The Marquesas are served by telephone as well as by radio and
television, mainly from
THIS SECTION NEEDS EXPANSION. You can help by adding to it . (June 2008)
Marquesan chieftess Main article: Marquesan culture
The ecosystem of the Marquesas has been devastated in some areas by the activities of feral livestock. As a first step in preserving what remains, the Marquesan Nature Reserves were created in 1992. See also: Fauna of the Marquesas Islands and Flora of the Marquesas Islands
REPRESENTATION IN CULTURE
* Noted French painter
* Administrative divisions of
* ^ "R1- Population sans doubles comptes, des subdivisions,
communes et communes associées de Polynésie française, de 1971 à
1996". ISPF. Archived from the original on 14 November 2012. Retrieved
* ^ A B C D INSEE. "Population des subdivisions administratives de
Polynésie française" (in French). Retrieved 2013-10-13.
* ^ Communes des Îles Marquises
* ^ A B C Janet M. Wilmshurst, Terry L. Hunt, Carl P. Lipo, and
Atholl J. Anderson. "High-precision radiocarbon dating shows recent
and rapid initial human colonization of East Polynesia", PNAS, vol.
108 no. 5, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1015876108, accessed 26 October 2015
* ^ Berguno, Jorge (1990). Hardy, John; Frost, Alan, eds. European
Voyaging towards Australia. Australian Academy of the Humanities. p.
25. ISBN 0909897190 .
* ^ Sharp, Andrew, The Discovery of the Pacific Islands, Oxford
1960 p. 51
* ^ "Papers of Joseph Ingraham, 1790-1792: Journal of the Voyage of
the Brigantine Hope from Boston to the North-West Coast of America".
World Digital Library
* Kjellgren, Eric & Ivory, Carol S. (2005). Adorning the world: art of the Marquesas Islands. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 9781588391469 . * Urmenyhazi, Attila. 2013 book publication: "Samoan ;background:none transparent;border:none;-moz-box-shadow:none;-webkit-box-shadow:none;box-shadow:none;">v
* t * e
Archipelagos of French Polynesia
* Leeward Islands * Windward Islands
* v * t * e
Archipelagos of French Polynesia: Australs Gambiers Marquesas Societies Tuamotus
* v * t * e
* French Polynesia