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Mangareva Cathederal. Successful Jesuit priests from the Gambier Islands moved on to Tahiti.
Pacific Island Guide  >  French Polynesia  >  Gambier Islands

General Information

Gambier Islands or Mangareva. These atolls have a population of about 6,500 people. Whaling ships stopped here in the 19th century. One of the last strongholds of cannibalism, overzealous missionaries worked the population to death. The majority are Protestant. LDS Missionaries have begun to work here.

They are: Mangareva (Pearl), Taravai (Belcher), Temoe, Aukena (Elson), and Akamaru (Wainwright)

Historical Background

1000 -1400 Native inhabitants on Mangareva deforested the once richly forested  island by using almost all of the timber.

1500-1800 Civil war and cannibalism bring the population down to about 3,000.

1823 Frederick Beechey enters the lagoon of the Gambier Islands.
1834 A Catholic mission is begun on Manngareva by Belgian Jesuit priests.  Over a two-year period, Islanders build a large cathedral from crushed coral.

1836 Jesuit priestss leave for Tahiti.

1841 Hurricane in the Gambier Islands.


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