Society Islands

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Society Islands,

island group (2002 pop. 214,445), South Pacific, a part of French PolynesiaFrench Polynesia,
officially Overseas Lands of French Polynesia, internally self-governing dependency (2015 est. pop. 278,000) of France, consisting of 118 islands in the South Pacific. The capital is Papeete, on Tahiti.
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. The group comprises the Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands (total land area c.650 sq mi/1,680 sq km), two clusters of volcanic and coral islands lying in a 450-mi (724-km) chain. Only eight of the islands are inhabited. The Windward Islands include TahitiTahiti
, island (2002 pop. 169.674), South Pacific, in the Windward group of the Society Islands, French Polynesia. The capital is Papeete. Tahiti is the largest (402 sq mi/1,041 sq km) and most important of the French Pacific islands.
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, MooreaMoorea
, volcanic island (2002 pop. 14,226), c.50 sq mi (130 sq km), South Pacific, second largest of the Windward group of the Society Islands, French Polynesia. The island is mountainous, with Mt. Tohivea (3,975 ft/1,212 m) the highest peak.
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, Mehetia, and Tetiaroa; the Leeward Islands include Rai'ateaRai'atea
, volcanic island, 92 sq mi (238 sq km), South Pacific, largest and most important of the Leeward group of the Society Islands, French Polynesia. The island is mountainous, with Mt. Toomaru (3,389 ft/1,033 m) the highest peak.
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 (largest island of the Leeward group), Huahine, Bora-BoraBora-Bora
, volcanic island, 15 sq mi (39 sq km), South Pacific, in the Leeward group of the Society Islands, French Polynesia. It is a mountainous island, with Mt. Otemanu (2,379 ft/725 m) the highest peak.
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, Maupiti, Tahaa, Maiao, Maupihaa, Tupai, Manuae, and Motu One. The islands are mountainous, and there are breadfruit, pandanus, and coconut trees; the limited fauna includes wild pigs, rats, and small lizards. The major products are copra, sugar, rum, mother-of-pearl, and vanilla. Tourism is extremely important to the economy.

The Society Islands were visited in 1767 by the English navigator Samuel Wallis, who claimed them for Great Britain. A year later, however, the French navigator Louis Antoine de BougainvilleBougainville, Louis Antoine de
, 1729–1811, French navigator. He accompanied Montcalm to Canada as aide-de-camp, and he later (c.1764) established a colony on the Falkland Islands but had to surrender the settlement to Spain (1766).
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 established a French claim. They were named the Society Islands in 1769 by Capt. James CookCook, James,
1728–79, English explorer and navigator. The son of a Yorkshire agricultural laborer, he had little formal education. After an apprenticeship to a firm of shipowners at Whitby, he joined (1755) the royal navy and surveyed the St.
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. The group became a protectorate of France in 1843 and a colony in 1880. In 1946, French Polynesia, including the Society Islands, became an overseas territory of France.

Society Islands


an archipelago situated in the South Pacific, in Polynesia; a possession of France. Area, 1,600 sq km. Population, approximately 100,000 (1970). The capital is Papeete.

The Society Islands consist of two groups, the Windward Group in the east and the Leeward Group in the west. Surrounded by coral reefs, most of the islands are of volcanic origin. Elevations rise to 2,241 m on Tahiti, the largest island. The climate is tropical and maritime, average monthly temperatures ranging from 20° to 26° C. Annual precipitation varies from 1,500 to 2,500 mm.

The Society Islands have wet tropical rain forests. There are plantations of coconut palms, bananas, citrus fruits, vanilla, pineapples, coffee, sugarcane, and cotton. Pearls and mother-of-pearl shells are gathered, and there is a fishing industry. The islands, discovered in 1767 by the Englishman S. Wallis, were named in honor of the Royal Society of London.

References in periodicals archive ?
Outside of French Polynesia, "Tahiti" is often used to refer to all the Society Islands.
In the Society Islands this seasonal ritual was termed 'pa'iatua' (literally, god-wrapping) while in the Southern Cook Islands it was termed 'takurua' (Sissons 1989: 343-4; Siikala 1991:117).
The Ma'ohi of the Society Islands were among the most complex and highly stratified of the Polynesian chiefdoms (Goldman 1970; Kirch 1984; Sahlins 1958).
Tupaia came from Raiatea in the Society Islands, where he was a high priest of the ascendant cult of the war god Oro.
In contrast, little is known of the spiders of the Society Islands, another remote Polynesian archipelago located ~4000 km south of the Hawaiian Islands.
Princess cleverly book ends its itineraries with full days in Papeete, allowing ample time for a good look at Tahiti, largest island in the Society Islands archipelago.
During the following twenty years, we conducted programs in the Caribbean, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Society Islands, and many other paradise destinations.
Abbott (1952) records the natural distribution of this species to include India and Ceylon, east to the Philippine and Hawaiian islands, north to the small islands south of Japan and south to the Society Islands.
Divided into five island groups, 80 per cent of the population live in the Society Islands, which include Tahiti and Bora Bora, and these are the main tourist destinations, with most visitors flying into Tahiti's capital Papeete.
in assessing the genetic basis of mating success, paternity, and fitness through cycles of island deer and sheep populations (Chapter 4), revealing cryptic multiple colonization events in Dominican anoles (Chapter 5) and Moorean snails (Chapter 11), and documenting the age and island-hopping sequence of derivative species groups in which the original colonists predate the age of extant islands (Hawaiian drosophilines, Chapter 8, and lobelioids, Chapter 17, and snails on the Society Islands, Chapter 11, another "hot-spot" archipelago where the longevity of a colonist's descendants exceeds that of individual islands on their conveyor belt production line).
His pioneering work, Tahitians: Mind and Experience in the Society Islands (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973), was unconventional at the time not only in its personal, psychological concerns, but in attempting to convey, not a unified image of a "society" or the "typical" actor within it, but rather a multiplicity of individual portraits.
The 150-passenger Wind Song sails the Society Islands (7 days from $2,195).