Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous with surrounding coral reefs.
Map of Tahiti:
Geography of Tahiti
Tahiti is the highest and largest island in French Polynesia. It is located 4,400 km (2,734.03 mi) south of Hawai’i, 7,900 km (4,908.83 mi) from Chile and 5,700 km (3,541.82 mi) from Australia.
History of Tahiti
Tahiti is estimated to have been settled between AD 300 and 800 by Polynesians, although some estimates place the date earlier. These first settlers are believed to have travelled thousands of miles across open sea by Polynesian navigation from the western archipelagoes of Fiji, Samoa or Tonga. In 1770, James Cook observed in Tahiti, a great traditional ship (va’a) 33 metres in length. Tahitian society was composed of chiefdoms and territories based on kinship and military power among various clans.
Demographics of Tahiti
The indigenous Tahitians are of Polynesian ancestry comprising 70% of the population alongside Europeans, East Asians (essentially Chinese) and people of mixed heritage sometimes referred to as Demis. They make up the largest population in French Polynesia. Most people from metropolitan France live in Papeetē and its suburbs, notably Puna’auiā where they make up almost 20% of the population
Culture of Tahiti
Tahitian cultures included an oral tradition that included mythology of various gods and beliefs as well as ancient traditions such as tattooing and navigation. The annual Heivā Festival in July is a celebration of traditional culture, dance, music and sports including a long distance race between the islands of French Polynesia, in modern outrigger canoes.
One of the most widely recognized images of the islands is the world famous Tahitian dance. The ʻōteʻa, sometimes written as otea, is a traditional dance from Tahiti, where the dancers, standing in several rows, execute different figures.