French Polynesia Overview
French Polynesia is located in the south-central Pacific, and is comprised of 120 islands. A total land area of 4,167 square kilometers is home to a population of 266,000, most of whom are Polynesian. Residents are Protestant of Catholic, and French and Tahitian are the official languages, although other Polynesian languages are also spoken. The currency is the euro, and the capital is Papeete.
In 1880, the French established the colony of Tahiti. Until the 19th century, the other islands were also occupied by law. In 1957 the country became a French overseas territory, changing its name formally to French Polynesia. In 1977 an internal self-government was established, but France remained in charge of foreign affairs and defense, retaining financial and judicial powers. A French High Commissioner was appointed to replace the Governor as the supreme head of the executive management of the Government Committee. In October 1990, France passed constitutional amendments, changing the country’s status from overseas territory into a Polynesian overseas province.
Economy and Culture Overview
The economy is dominated by coconut production. It also has rich fishery resources, especially tuna and pearls, with the latter a booming industry, and French Polynesia’s black pearl world-renowned.