Friday, April 08, 2005

History of French Polynesia

History of French Polynesia. This is a short overview to the history of this French possession in the Pacific. This is also where Tahiti is located.

From the site:

Part of the archipelago was discovered by Pedro Fernandez Quiros in 1607. In 1767 Samuel Wallis re-discovered it, and named it King George's Island. In 1768 Louis de Bougainville visited Tahiti, claimed it as French, and named it La Nouvelle Cythere. On the 12th of April 1769 the British expedition to observe the transit of Venus, under the naval command of James Cook, arrived at Tahiti. On this first voyage (he subsequently re-visited the islands twice) he named the Leeward group of islands Society in honour of the Royal Society, at the instigation of which the expedition had been sent; Tahiti and the adjacent islands he called Georgian, but the first name was subsequently adopted for the whole group. In 1772 and 1774 the islands were visited by a Spanish government expedition, and some attempt was made at colonization. In 1788 Lieutenant Bligh of the spent some time at Tahiti.

The 1912 Catholic Encyclopedia wrote, "Bougainville, Cook, and other explorers made Tahiti famous in Paris as "La Nouvelle Cythère", and in London aroused an enthusiasm for "the lovely isle", which led to the formation, by Dr. Haweis and others, of the London Missionary Society in 1794-95, and the despatch of the "Duff" in 1796 with some 60 persons, missionaries and teachers of trades and crafts, for the conversion of the island and its neighbours. The representatives of the society made little progress until Pomaré II, King of Tahiti, accepted Protestantism in 1815. Under his successors they gained great influence in the island government. In 1836 two priests of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary of Picpus arrived in Tahiti from the Gambier Islands, where Catholicism had gained a foothold. They were twice expelled by Queen Pomaré IV, with the support and approbation of the English Protestant missionaries, and took their cause to Paris. In 1838 a French naval expedition exacted from Queen Pomaré an indemnity and guarantees for the future for French residents in the island. In 1841 a mission was established by the Congregation of Picpus."

No comments: