|Geographical location||7° - 29° S, 131° - 156° W|
|Number of islands||118|
|Area||3,600 km 2|
|Area of ocean||4 mill km 2|
|Population||258,000 of which 67% Polynesian, 11.7% |
European, 4.5% Asian, 14.2% mixed
|Population density||71 inhabitants per km 2|
|Language||French and Tahitian. English is only spoken in touristic areas|
|Religion||50% Protestant, 33% Catholic. Rest: Mormon, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses etc.|
|Capital city||Papeete (Tahiti), population 100.000|
|Form of Government||French territory with inner autonomy. The territorial assembly votes for the President.|
|Currency||CFP = Cour de Franc Pacifique (currency converter )|
|Economy||Tourism, pearls, copra, agriculture|
|Trading partners||France, EU, USA|
The islands of French Polynesia are in the centre of the Pacific Ocean, approximately halfway between the American west coast and the Australian east coast, each of which are about 6,000 km away. They are divided into five island groups: Society Islands, Tuamotus, Marquesas, Austral Islands and Gambier Islands. The 118 islands only have a combined land area of a metropolitan city but are spread over an ocean area as large as Europe. These dimensions illustrate how isolated life on the outer islands can be, even with today’s modern means of communication and transport.
While the Tuamotus are almost entirely made up of low lying coral atolls, the other island groups consist mostly of high, mountainous islands. The Society Islands accommodate three-quarters of the population and attract the bulk of tourists. They are divided into the windward or eastern islands (Iles du Vent), to which Tahiti and Moorea belong, and the leeward or western islands (Iles sous le Vent) such as Huahine, Raiatea and Bora Bora.