French Polynesia


French Polynesia (French Polynésie française, Tahit. Pōrīnetia farāni) is an overseas community and a constituent country of France, located in the center of the South Pacific. It borders in the west with the waters of the Cook Islands, in the northwest with the Republic of Kiribati, in the north, east and south with neutral Pacific waters, in the southeast with the waters of Pitcairn.

It includes archipelagos: the islands of the Society, the islands of Tuamotu, the Marquesas islands, the islands of Tubuai, separately distinguish the Gambier islands that are near Tuamotu, in fact being a separate part of Tuamotu. The total area is 4,167 km², the population is 281,674 people (as estimated in 2017). The political and administrative center is the city of Papeete on the island of Tahiti (the largest island of French Polynesia, 1 thousand km²).

Managed by the French High Commissioner. Local authorities - the Council of Ministers and the first word of the overseas community means belonging to France. The second word comes from the Pacific region of Polynesia, half of which it occupies. The name “Polynesia” (literally - “multi-island”) was artificially formed in the 16th century from the ancient Greek words πολύς - “many” and νῆσος - “island”; the end is usually for the names of countries and territories. The modern name of the territory appeared around the second half or at the end of the 19th century, when the territory became part of France.


The islands of French Polynesia are of either volcanic or coral origin. Volcanic are most of the islands of Society and Tubuai, the islands of Gambier and the Marquesas; coral atolls form the Tuamotu archipelago and are part of some other island groups.

Volcanic islands are mountainous. The highest point of Tahiti (and throughout French Polynesia) - Mount Orohena - rises to 2241 m above sea level. Coral islands usually rise above sea level by only a few meters, surrounded by reefs.

The climate in most of French Polynesia, mainly in the center, is tropical, trade wind. In the north (Marquesas Islands) - subequatorial. In the southern part, noticeable differences are observed between warm winters and hot summers. On the southern islands of Tubuai, the climate is subtropical humid. The hottest and wettest season is from November to May, when northwest winds often blow. In the hottest months, the temperature is usually 27 - 32 ° C and the humidity is very high (about 92%) and precipitation falls to 1700 mm (75% of the annual norm). Precipitation at this time falls mainly in the form of powerful but short-term evening showers, or prolonged drizzling rains lasting up to several days.

In the same period, tropical hurricanes and powerful storms are not uncommon. The islands of Tahiti, Tuamotu, Tubuai are subject to them.

In the dry season (June to October) southeast trade winds prevail. The lowest temperatures drop in July-August (in the south - up to 18 - 21 ° C).

The average annual temperatures are mainly on most islands from 22 to 26 ° C, with insignificant monthly oscillation amplitudes. The trade winds and the exposure of the island (slope) determine the climatic conditions and weather on the islands of Polynesia. Precipitation - 1500 - 3500 mm. There are hurricanes.

The islands of French Polynesia are subject to the invasion of tropical cyclones, sometimes destructive, mainly in January.