French Polynesia was long called French Oceania and this country is located in what is called Polynesia in Oceania. French Polynesia is an area of over one hundred islands and atolls scattered over an area that covers a large area of the South Pacific. The area is usually divided into five different groups of islands, namely the Society Islands, the Gambian Islands, the Tuamotu Islands, the Australian Islands and the Tuamotu Islands. The island that is perhaps most famous in Sweden is the one called Tahiti and which is within the archipelago with the name Sällskapsöarna. This is a very popular tourist destination and it is also where most of the inhabitants of French Polynesia live. In Tahiti, there is the country’s capital called Papeete.
Since 2004, French Polynesia has had administrative independence, but is seen as a French overseas administrative area. The French took over the islands in 1842 and then a French protectorate was established. In September 1995, there was a strong focus on France’s nuclear tests in Fangataufa Atoll. The last test was carried out in 1996. After that, France promised to adhere to the agreement known as the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and no longer test nuclear weapons in the area.
Europeans are discovering the islands
Modern scientists believe that French Polynesia was one of the last areas of the earth to be inhabited, and it is believed that the Marquesas Islands were the first to be colonized during Polynesian migration. The first European to set foot on the islands was the British explorer Samuel Wallis who visited Tahiti in 1767. The French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville came to Tahiti in 1768 and the British James Cook came to the same island the following year. The Spaniards came in 1772 and 1774 and a short-lived Spanish settlement was established in the area.
Geography and climate
French Polynesia consists of about 118 islands and the highest point is Mount Orohena located in Tahiti. The climate is both subtropical and tropical depending on which islands you are on. It is mostly hot and humid and those who go here for holidays choose the period between April and October when it is a little cooler but still very warm and comfortable.
The French Polynesian economy is dependent on tourism and also on financial assistance from France. Tourism is well developed and you can visit all the main islands. There are also jobs in agriculture and they grow coconuts, vanilla, vegetables and fruit, among other things. Among the natural resources, fish and cobalt can be mentioned. However, it is the case that you import more than you export. Another well-known export product from French Polynesia is the black Tahitian pearl, which in 2008 accounted for more than half of all exports from the country. There are 53 airports in French Polynesia and 46 of these are paved. The international airport is called Faaa International Airport. Each island has its own airport and it makes it possible to fly between the different islands.