OFFICIAL NAME: Territory of French Polynesia
CAPITAL: Papeete (Tahiti Island)
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Overseas Territory of France
AREA: 3,941 Sq Km (1,521 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 228,200


Direct Link to Political MapDirect Link to Physical MapLOCATION AND GEOGRAPHY: French Polynesia consists of five scattered archipelagos in the South Pacific Ocean. (1.) The Society Islands which include Tahiti and Bora-Bora, (2.) the Tuamotu Archipelago, (3.) the Gambier Archipelago, (4.) the Marquesas Islands and (5.) the Austral Islands. Most of the islands are of volcanic origin, mountainous and ringed by coral reefs while the Tuamotu and Gambier island groups are low lying coral atolls. Major Cities; Papeete 104,000 (1988). Land Use; forested 31%, pastures 6%, agricultural-cultivated 21%, other 42% (1988).


CLIMATE: French Polynesia has a tropical climate which is hot and humid from November to April but cooler and drier for the remainder of the year. Temperatures are moderated by the prevailing SE trade winds. The average annual temperature is around 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit) all year.


PEOPLE: The majority of the population are of Polynesian descent and account for around 70% of the population. Almost 19% of the population are mixed, of which Polynesian-Europeans account for 16.8%, Polynesian-Chinese for 1.3% and European-Chinese for .5% while Europeans, mostly French, account for 10% and Chinese account for 4% of the population.


DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 58 persons per sq km (149 persons per sq ml) (1991). Urban-Rural; 55.0% urban, 45.0% rural (1988). Sex Distribution; 52.3% male, 47.7% female (1988). Life Expectancy at Birth; 66.1 years male, 71.3 years female (1988). Age Breakdown; 35% under 15, 44% 15 to 39, 18% 40 to 64, 3% 65 and over (1988). Birth Rate; 27.4 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 4.6 per 1,000 (1990). Increase Rate; 22.8 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 10.4 per 1,000 live births (1990).


RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with Protestants accounting for 47% of the population while 40% are Roman Catholics.


LANGUAGES: The official language is French, although Tahitian is spoken by the majority of Polynesians.


EDUCATION: Aged 10 or over and having attained: no formal schooling 5.1%, primary 46.1%, secondary 45.0%, higher 3.8% (1988). Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over 98,314 or 95.0% (1983).


MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1990: In 1957 French Polynesia became an overseas territory of France. Internal self-government particularly in economic matters was increased in 1977 and again in 1984. In Mar. 1986 Gaston Flosse was reelected President of the Council of Ministers. In Feb. 1987 Flosse resigned after allegations of corruption and Jacques Teuira replaced him. In Oct. 1987 the breakup of a dock strike led to serious rioting in Papeete which resulted in the army restoring order. In Dec. 1987 Teuira resigned with discontent growing among the people regarding his policies and Alexandre Leontieff replaced Teuira as President.


CURRENCY: The official currency is the CFP Franc (Comptoire Francaise du Pacifique-CFPF) divided into 100 Centimes.


MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are France, other EU countries, the USA and New Caledonia.

MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Bananas, Cassava, Coconuts, Copra, Fish, Livestock, Pineapples, Potatoes, Sugar Cane, Watermelons.

MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Beer, Coconut and Sandal Wood Oil Refining, Construction, Fishing, Sandals, Screen Printing, Tourism.

MAIN EXPORTS: Coconut Oil, Handicrafts, Mother of Pearl, Black Pearls, Vanilla.


TRANSPORT: Railroads; nil. Roads; length 792 km (492 mi) (1990). Vehicles; cars 37,000 (1989), trucks and buses 15,000 (1989). Merchant Marine; vessels 38 (1990), deadweight tonnage N/A. Air Transport; N/A.


COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 3 with a total circulation of 23,000 (1987). Radio; receivers 90,000 (1990). Television; receivers 26,500 (1990). Telephones; units 43,740 (1987).


MILITARY: 5,400 (1990) total active French duty personnel.


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