1797-1889 History of the Pacific Islands 1918-1939

French Polynesia 1889-1918

In the 1880es, France claimed the TUAMOTU ARCHIPELAGO, the domain of the POMARE DYNASTY (which originated from Tahiti), as Tahitian and took them without formal annexion; the islands of RIMATARA and RURUTU (Tubuai Arch.) asked for British protection in 1888, which they did not get, and in 1889 they were annexed by France. Having declared a protectorate over TAHUATU (Marquesas) in 1842, the French regarded the entire Marquesas group as French.
In 1885 France appointed a governor and established a general council, thus giving it the proper administration of a colony; the official name of the colony was ETABLISSEMENTS DE L'OCEANIE (Settlements in Oceania); in 1903 the general council was changed into an advisory council and the colony was renamed ETABLISSEMENTS FRANCAISES DE L'OCEANIE (French settlements in Oceania); stamps were issued for the colony since 1892.
French painter PAUL GAUGUIN arrived on Tahiti in 1891, to stay in Polynesia for the rest of his life (-1903), painting ezclusively islands motives.
In World War I, Papeete was shelled by a German cruiser in 1914. About a fifth of Polynesia's population fell victim to the influenca epidemics of 1918.

History of French Polynesia, from Tahiti Explorer, click history
Timeline from Circumnavigator

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on January 13th 2002, last revised on November 4th 2004

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