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Where is Polynesia?

Polynesia Island in Oceania

The Polynesian archipelago is one of the three major island groups in the Pacific Ocean. It is located in Oceania, meaning “multi-island archipelago”. Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, east of 180° longitude, between 30° south latitude and 30° north latitude. It is distributed in a huge triangle on the Pacific Ocean in the central and eastern part. The top corner of the triangle is the Hawaiian Islands, and the two bottom corners are New Zealand and Easter Island. The population is about 1.42 million, mostly Polynesians.

Mainly include the Hawaiian Islands, Tuvalu Islands, Tonga Islands, Society Islands, Tubuai Islands, Tuamotu Islands, Marquesas Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Cook Islands, Line Islands , Phoenix Islands, Johnston Island, Wallis Islands, Futuna Islands, Pitcairn Islands, Christmas Island, Jarvis Island, Dicy Island, Easter Island, etc.

It is composed of volcanic islands and coral reefs. The islands near the equator have a tropical rainforest climate, and the other islands have a tropical grassland climate. Central Polynesia is one of the typhoon sources. Minerals include phosphate, nickel, chromium and so on. Pearls are produced along the coast. It produces and exports copra, cocoa, sugar cane, natural rubber and so on. The tourism industry is developing rapidly.

The Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, are also Polynesians. The Fiji Islands are sometimes included in Polynesia because a large proportion of the population is Polynesian. The total land area is 27,000 square kilometers. The population is about 1.42 million, mostly Polynesians. Mainly Polynesian, tall, dark brown skin, straight or wavy hair.

Residents mostly believe in Christianity and speak Polynesian. The official language is English except French Polynesia, which is French. Except for Tuvalu, Western Samoa, and Tonga that have become independent, the Cook Islands and Niue have internal autonomy, and the rest belong to the United States, Britain, France and other countries. The Chinese in French Polynesia are basically of Hakka descent.


The island group consists of volcanic islands and coral reefs. For example, the Hawaiian Islands in the Polynesian Islands, volcanoes are still active today, which are characterized by high altitude and steep terrain. Mainly tropical ocean climate. Due to the vast area, the temperature and precipitation of each archipelago are different. The annual average temperature is above 26°C in the middle part of the year, and around 24-25°C in other areas. There are fewer islands on both sides of the equator in annual precipitation. The Phoenix Islands are 1000-1500 mm, Christmas Island is only 700 mm, and the other islands are 2000-3000 mm.

Central Polynesia is one of the hurricane sources. The Polynesian island group is the necessary place for international sea and air routes and many submarine cables, and has an important strategic position. The economy is dominated by agriculture. It produces and exports coconuts and tropical fruits, as well as cocoa, sugar cane and vanilla. There are minerals such as phosphates. The tourism industry is developing rapidly. Pearls and fish are produced along the coast.


Based on archaeological evidence and comparative judgments of language identity, experts believe that immigrants from Melanesia settled in central Polynesia about 3000-4000 years ago. It was the first to migrate from Southeast Asia. Later, some of the people migrated to the more distant Polynesia region. The Marquesas Islands may have been settled by Samoans as early as 300 AD, and Easter Island may have been settled by Samoans from the Marquesas Islands as early as 400 AD.

Hawaii is also inhabited by some navigators from Marquesas who moved in between 500 and 1000 AD; explorers from the Society Islands also arrived here centuries later. The Society Islands may finally come to settle in the original settlement of the Polynesians in the Cook Islands. One of the Marquesas and the Society Islands is the original settlement of the New Zealand islanders (who began to settle here sometime before 1000 AD). Various Polynesian languages ​​are used scattered across a large area of ​​the Pacific Ocean, and they are closely related to each other.

The contact between Polynesia and European culture began in the late 18th century, and this contact completely changed the way of life of Polynesians. The Spanish explorers who sought wealth and were keen to spread Christianity were the first Europeans to arrive in Polynesia. Alvaro de Mendana de Neira landed in the Marquesas Islands in 1595, and Pedro Fernandez de Quiros In 1606, the Tuamotu Islands and the Northern Cook Islands were discovered. The Portuguese also arrived here soon after. Abel J. Tasman discovered New Zealand in 1642 and later the Tonga Islands.

The British and French expeditions to Polynesia began in 1767, when the British navigator Samuel Wallis discovered the island of Tahiti, and the French navigator Louis-Antoine de Bougainville also arrived in Tahiti. Island, he later discovered the Samoan Islands. British naval officer and explorer Captain James Cook sailed around the two main islands of New Zealand in 1769 and 1770, painted charts, and then arrived in Tahiti. Cork landed on the Hawaiian Islands in 1778 and named it the Sandwich Islands in homage to Lord Sandwich, Secretary of the Navy. Almost all Polynesian islands have launched resistance operations against the Europeans, but they all took a short time.

The United States annexed Hawaii in 1898; France annexed Marquesas and the Society Islands in 1880; Chile claimed its sovereignty over Easter Island in 1888; Britain annexed New Zealand in 1840 and annexed the Cook Islands in 1901; Tonga has always maintained the status of an independent kingdom (but has been protected by the British since 1900). By the end of the 19th century, all the Polynesian islands were under the control of the European powers and the United States. After the First World War, the Pacific interests of the defeated Germany were divided by the victors.

Spanish Samoa gained independence in the 20th century (1962); American Samoa became a territory of the United States in 1929; Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States in 1959; New Zealand gained independence in 1947 and became a member of the Great Britain Association; The Croatian Islands are politically dependent on New Zealand; the Marquesas Islands, Society Islands and Tuamotu Islands together constitute French Polynesia (a French overseas territory).

The colonists and Christian missionaries (especially the latter) succeeded in eradicating the native Polynesian traditions and customs while instilling Western belief systems and lifestyles in the Polynesians. Most traditional lifestyle habits are either replaced by or mixed with Western lifestyle habits. Samoa and Tonga are the two regions where the traditional culture is more preserved in all the Polynesian islands. In other places, the influence of Western culture can be seen almost everywhere, especially in consumer products.

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