French Polynesia

Map of French Polynesia

CIA. Via Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection

French Polynesia takes in the Society Islands, the Tuamotu group to their east, the Marqueses to their north, and the Tubuai group in the south, and the Gambiers in the southeast.  The total land area was about 1520 square miles (3940 km2) with 29,500 native, 5000 French, and 4500 Chinese inhabitants in 1941.

These islands are beautiful, but isolated and largely devoid of natural resources, other than phosphate at Makatea.  They were sufficiently far from Japan that the war largely passed them by, although the U.S. Navy did build an important refueling station at Bora Bora, and the Japanese had plans to move this way that were abandoned after their disastrous defeat at Midway.


Carter (1953)

Prange (1982)

Rottman (2002)

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