French Polynesia History

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History

French Polynesia is divided into five groups of islands: the Society Islands archipelago, composed of the Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands; the Tuamotu Archipelago; the Gambier Islands; the Marquesas Islands; and the Austral Islands. Among its 118 islands and atolls, 67 are inhabited. Tahiti, which is located within the Society Islands, is the most populous island, having close to 69% of the population of French Polynesia as of 2017.

Following the Great Polynesian Migration, European explorers visited 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 they called French Establishments/Settlements in Oceania.

In 1946, the EFOs became an overseas territory under the constitution of the French Fourth Republic, and Polynesians were granted the right to vote through citizenship. In 1957, the EFOs were renamed French Polynesia. 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 a law of 27 February 2004, an administrative autonomy, two symbolic manifestations of which are the title of the President of French Polynesia and its additional designation as an overseas country.
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Timeline

1521 - The Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, sailing at the service of the Spanish Crown, sighted Puka-Puka in the Tuāmotu-Gambier Archipelago
1774 - A short-lived Spanish settlement was created
1842 - Tahiti and Tahuata were declared a French protectorate, to allow Catholic missionaries to work undisturbed
1880 - France annexed Tahiti, changing the status from that of a protectorate to that of a colony. The island groups were not officially united until the establishment of the French protectorate in 1889
1946 - Polynesians were granted French citizenship and the islands' status was changed to an overseas territory
1957 - The islands' name was changed to French Polynesia
2003 - French Polynesia became a full overseas collectivity of France