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Historical Flags (French Polynesia)

Last modified: 2001-08-02 by santiago dotor
Keywords: french polynesia | historical |
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The period corresponds to the end of the independent Polynesian kingdoms. A strong competition occurred between the European nations, mainly France, United Kingdom and Germany, to impose protectorates on the kingdoms. The competition was mediated by the missionaries of Christian churches who imposed Christianism and tried to eradicate local religions. For example, the protectorate established by France on Tahiti in 1842-1843 was associated with the expulsion of the Anglican missionaries and nearly triggered a war between France and United Kingdom.

All the flags described in the Flags of Paradise 1996 chart are based on blue, white and red colours. This might be coincidental but I assume the flags have been influenced by early contacts with France. The evolution is quite similar for different kingdoms: first a "local" flag, then the same with the French tricolour in canton when protectorate is established and finally discarding of the flag after annexion (replaced with the French tricolour).

Ivan Sache, 19 August 1998

At the Tahiti Post Office website, I found this information in the description of a stamp (interesting flag-related bit at the end):

"The Missionary Ship "Duff"

"The three-masted ship "Duff" arrived in Tahiti's Matavai Bay on March 5, 1797, completing a 207-day voyage from London. The ship, commanded by Capt. John Wilson, had aboard 37 artisans and pastors of the London Missionary Society (LMS) and their families, who were to be resettled in the South Pacific on the islands of Tahiti, Tonga and the Marquesas. During his travels aboard the "Duff", Capt. Wilson discovered the archipelago of Mangareva, which he named Gambier in honor of the British admiral sponsoring the expedition.

"The "Duff" was captured in the Atlantic Ocean in February 1799 by a French privateer, making this the last time that the "Duff" flew the missionary flag of three doves carrying an olive branch against a crimson background."

Santiago Dotor, 18 February 1999

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