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Brief History of French Polynesia:
French Polynesia is a French overseas territory. It is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and is made up of a number of islands, the most famous island being Tahiti.
Prior to European arrival the island was governed by native chiefs. Several explorers sighted or visited the islands over the years including Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 and James Cook in 1769. France claimed ownership of various islands over time including Tahiti. In 1889 France united the islands into a single protectorate for the first time.
The Geography of French Polynesia
Total Size: 4,167 square km
Size Comparison: slightly less than one-third the size of Connecticut
Geographical Coordinates: 15 00 S, 140 00 W
World Region or Continent: Oceania
General Terrain: mixture of rugged high islands and low islands with reefs
Geographical Low Point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Geographical High Point: Mont Orohena 2,241 m
Climate: tropical, but moderate
Major cities: PAPEETE (capital) 133,000 (2009)
The People of French Polynesia
Type of Government: NA
Languages Spoken: French 61.1% (official), Polynesian 31.4% (official), Asian languages 1.2%, other 0.3%, unspecified 6% (2002 census)
Independence: none (overseas lands of France)
National Holiday: Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)
Nationality: French Polynesian(s)
Religions: Protestant 54%, Roman Catholic 30%, other 10%, no religion 6%
National Symbol: outrigger canoe
National Anthem or Song: Ia Ora 'O Tahiti Nui (Long Live Tahiti Nui)
Economy of French Polynesia
Major Industries: tourism, pearls, agricultural processing, handicrafts, phosphates
Agricultural Products: coconuts, vanilla, vegetables, fruits, coffee; poultry, beef, dairy products
Natural Resources: timber, fish, cobalt, hydropower
Major Exports: cultured pearls, coconut products, mother-of-pearl, vanilla, shark meat
Major Imports: fuels, foodstuffs, machinery and equipment
Currency: Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique franc (XPF)
National GDP: $4,718,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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