French Polynesia

Nathan Weller

Landforms

Mix of about 130 volcanic and coral islands


Made up of six island groups

- Marquesas Islands

- Society Islands

- Tuamotu Islands

- Gambier Islands

- Austral Islands

- Bass Islands


Climate

Humid subtropical climate with an average temperature of 79 degrees


Typhoons occasionally hit the islands in the months of January through March



Plants and Animals

Acacia

- Shrub found in the South Pacific


Polynesian Chestnut

- Tree that is widely used by the native people


Polynesian Imperial Pigeon

- Endemic to French Polynesia


Ultramarine Lorikeet

- Endemic to French Polynesia

Natural Resources

Fish

- Attracts tourists


Timber & Cobalt

- Valuable exports


Hydropower

- Provides an alternate source of energy

History

People arrived from Southeast Asia over 3,000 years ago


Europeans first made contact with the islands in the 1500s


France claimed much of the area in the mid 1800s, united the islands in 1889, and made French Polynesia an overseas territory in 1946

People and Languages

Ethnic Groups

- Polynesian 78%

- Chinese 12%

- European (French) 10%


Languages

- French 61%

- Polynesian 32%

- Asian languages 1%

- Other 6%

Land Use

Forests/Pastures 38%

Agriculture 21%

Other 42%


Over 82% of the people who live on the island of Tahiti, live in the cities and suburbs


Pearls account for 68% of all exports

Religion

- Protestant 54%

- Roman Catholic 30%

(Introduced by Europeans)



- Other 16%



Education

Public schools are fully financed by the government


Primary School

- 6 years


Secondary School

- 7 years

Traditions

- Christianity has pushed out many native traditions

- Himene tarava is a common form of singing

- Tamure is the traditional dance

Customs

- Family is very important

- Christianity plays a major role in many lives

- French ways of living have greatly influenced the area

Food

- Mix of South Pacific and European cooking styles

- Use of many fruits and seafood

- Restaurants have a wide background of cultures

Issues

- Controversy over nuclear testing


- Tourism's affect on the natural environment