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Kon Tiki. In 1947 Thor Heyerdahl and crew rode this balsa wood raft from Peru to the Tuamotu Islands.

Pacific Island Guide  >  French Polynesia  >  Tuamotu Islands

General Information

Tuamotu (Low, or Dangerous) Islands. Composed of 80 coral atolls, of which 50 are inhabited, the name means Islands Under the Clouds. Once heavily populated, the population is now only about 5,200 because people moved to better jobs.

The islands include: Ahe, Manihi, Takaroa, Tepoto, Napuka, Mataiva, Rangiroa, Tikehau, Takapoto, Tikei, Puka Puka, Arutua, Aaptaki, Aratika, Makatea, Kaukura, Toau, Kauehi, Takume, Fangatau, Fakahina, Niau, Raraka, Taenga, Raroia, Fakarava, Katiu, Tuanake, Hiti, Makemo, Nihiru, Rekareka, Faaite, Tepoto, Marutea Nord, Tahanea, Motutunga, Tekokota, Tauere, Anaa, Haraiki, Hikueru, Amanu, Reitoru, Marokau, Hao, Ravahere, Akiaki, Pukarua, Negonego, Paraoa, Vahitahi, Reao, Manuhangi, Vairaatea, Nukutavake, Pinaki, Hereheretue, Ahunui, Anuanuraro, Anuanurunga, Nukutepipi, Vanavana, Tureia, Vahanga, Tenararo, Tenarunga, Marutea Sud, Matureivavao, Mururoa, Tematagi, Fangataufa, Maria, and Morane

Historical Background

1543 Magellan’s Portugese fleet discovers Puka Puka, northeast Tuamotu
1616 Dutchmen Jacob Le Maire and Willem Scheuten reached Puka Puka, Takaroa, Takapoto, Manihi, and Rangiroa, all of the Tuamotu islands.
1722 Dutchman Jacob Roggeveen reached Maketea of the Tuamotus and Bora Bora of the Leewards.
1765 Englishman John Byron reached Tepoto, Napuka, Takeroe, Takapoto, and Rangirao.
1767 Englishman Samuel Wallis charted and claimed the islands for Britain.
1768 The French claim the islands.
1806 Pomare II extends his power on the northern and central Tuamotu Islands. His wife, Tetua, dies.
1826 Tahitians who will not accept the Mamaia religion flee to the Tuamotos.
1831 Uprising of chiefs against Pomare Vahine IV, who is forced to condemn the Mamaia sect.
1833 First Catholic Vicar Apostolic in the islands. Defeat of the chiefs of the Taiarapu (supported by the Mamaia sect) heralds its decline.
1841 Last members of the Mamaia sect die because they refused vaccination.
1842 Establishment of a French protectorate on Tahiti.
1845 Mormon missionary Grouard has great success on the island of Anaa.
1852 Catholic persecution of Mormons on Anaa. They are forced to flee, die, or attend the Catholic Church.
1860 Raids of the Peruvian slave traders begin.
1862 Slave traders captured in the Tuamotus.
1903 Hurricane in Tuamotu.
1905 Phosphates discovered in Makatea, Tuamotu.
1908 Leprosy spread to the eastern Tuamotu Islands.
1918 Flu epidemic kills 20 percent of the population. Phosphates are exploited in Makaeta, Tuamotu.

Research Tools

Last Name First Names Residence About place
Tape mp3
Transcript
PAF
Allain Marae Papeete Tuamotu 38 795887 Item 27

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