Tahiti History

Tahiti History

Early history

Tahiti and the islands around it were probably founded around 1,500 years BC. populated from Tonga, Samoa and Southeast Asia. The Society Islands and Marquesa Islands were settled first. The people called themselves Maohi. Rahitea Island, then known as Hawiki. It still appears in many legends of the Polynesians, for example in the Maoris in New Zealand, as the land from which the ancestors set out.
Today it is believed that the colonization waves to Hawaii, Easter Island and New Zealand started from here.
numerous independent tribal empires emerged, which were strictly hierarchically divided into nobles, free and non-free. Mostly religious and secular power were united in one person. The political and religious center of the approximately 35,000 people living here at that time was Raiatea, where the mythical birthplace of the god of war Oro and the “Marae Taputapuatea” – the most sacred place of worship in Polynesia – is located

The Europeans are coming

The first European to land on the island was Fernando Magellan (1480-1521), who anchored there for a short time in 1521.
In 1595 Alvaro Mendana reached the Marquesa Islands. He was looking for the fabulous southern continent. He named the islands after his master, Marquesas de Mendoza.
In 1606 Fernandez de Quiros returned and discovered the Tuamotu Islands.
On June 18, 1767, the Briton Samuel Wallis (1728-1795) reached the islands in search of the southern continent. He stayed in Tahiti for several weeks. They took up new provisions and discovered that, for example, a metal nail could buy a lot of sex. Wallis named the island in honor of the British King King George Island. and officially took the island forGreat Britain.
The Frenchman was next to Bourgainville in 1768 Tahiti. Unaware of the ownership structure, Antonie de Bougainvillea (1729-1811) took possession of the island for France a year later. When he returned to France he reported there about the noble savages and the permissive women.
This made Tahiti paradise on earth, “La Nouvelle Cythère” was to stimulate the imagination of many men for the next centuries.
James Cook had come to Tahiti in April 1769 with the task of observing and measuring the transit of Venus during a solar eclipse. He stayed for three months and then sailed on to New Zealand.
He took the priest and navigator Tupaia from the islandon board, who had to leave the island due to political unrest. The educated Tupaia was of great use to James Cook on his further voyages. He served him as a translator in New Zealand, for example, which was not difficult for him, as the Maoris in New Zealand were also Polynesians and the languages ​​are quite closely related.
The Spaniard Boenechea came to Tahiti from Peru in his ship the Aguilla in 1772. Like everyone before him, he claimed the islands for his nation. He established the first settlement on Tahiti. However, since the Spaniards were unsuccessful with their missionary work, they withdrew again in 1775.
James Cook found the abandoned mission station on his second voyage in 1777.
In 1779 the Bounty had spent six months in Tahiti under its captain William Bligh (1754-1817). When the ship set out again, the crew began to mutiny. The story of the mutiny has been described many times and has also been filmed. For more information, see Pitcairn.
It was declared a French protectorate in 1843 and part of the French colony of Oceania in 1881.

Til today

The Gambier Islands were annexed in 1881 and the Australian Islands in 1900-1901. During World War I, around 1,000 soldiers from Tahiti fought on the side of the Allies in Europe. During World War II, Bora Bora was a military base for 5,000 US soldiers.
After World War II in 1946, the islands became the overseas territory of France.
On July 22, 1956, the islands were officially named in French Polynesia.
Since 1963 the French carried out nuclear tests on Moruroa and Fangataufa.
The political opposition movement that emerged from the attempts led to the island state’s internal administration becoming increasingly independent.
During the Second World War, Tahiti was used militarily by the USA.
In 1959, Tahiti, together with French Polynesia, was declared a French overseas territory.

Atomic bomb tests
Since July 2, 1966, France has been detonating atomic bombs in French Polynesia, more precisely on Mururoa, which means something like “great secret”, probably a total of 193. The last test took place on January 27, 1996 on Mururoa. It was not until 2000 that the last people who had anything to do with the tests disappeared from the region. The region has been heavily radioactive since then, especially with plutonium and cesium. Numerous people were irradiated and died as a result, mostly of leukemia and cancer. However, many of the French mainlanders who worked there were not spared the consequences of the tests. Many of you, too, suffer from the effects of radiation to which you have been exposed in various activities. Many of them have already passed away. The great power mania of the French government has cost numerous lives, the number of which is estimated at around 20,000, and a beautiful reef landscape has been badly damaged, if not irrevocably destroyed. In connection with the atomic bomb test, the Greenpeace ship on July 10, 1985

Rainbow-Warrior sunk in the port of Auckland/New Zealand by French secret agents by means of an explosion. A person was killed in the process.


In just a few years, the population was decimated from around 40,000 to less than 20,000 in 1829, due to diseases that were brought in and against which they had no immune defense.
Pomare II died in 1821, Queen Pomare IV came to power in 1827 and ruled for 50 years.
The Protestant missionaries had gained influence on the Society Islands. On the other hand, the French Catholic missionaries were on the Gambier and Marquesas. When two French missionaries were arrested in Tahiti, France intervened and secured supremacy on the islands.
Since 1997 the London Missionary Society tried to Christianize the islanders. After they had successfully proselytized the ruler Pomare II, the rest of the population followed. Unfortunately, the successes of Western civilization were mostly terrifying.

Tahiti History