Location: Oceania, archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean,
about one-half of the way from South America to Australia
Geographic coordinates: 15 00 S, 140 00 W
Map references: Oceania
total: 4,167 sq km (118 islands and atolls)
land: 3,660 sq km
water: 507 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly less than one-third the size
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 2,525 km
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: tropical, but moderate
Terrain: mixture of rugged high islands and low islands
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Orohena 2,241 m
Natural resources: timber, fish, cobalt, hydropower
arable land: 1%
permanent crops: 6%
permanent pastures: 5%
forests and woodland: 31%
other: 57% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: NA sq km
Natural hazards: occasional cyclonic storms in January
Environment - current issues: NA
Geography - note: includes five archipelagoes; Makatea in
French Polynesia is one of the three great phosphate rock islands
in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati
French Polynesia, located on the overseas territory of France, in
the South Pacific Ocean, about 3000 km south of Hawaii and halfway
between New Zealand to the west and South America to the east. The
capital is Papeete, which is located on Tahiti, the largest island
in the territory. French Polynesia comprises of 120 islands divided
into five archipelagos.
Temperate, but cooled by sea breezes. Two main seasons: humid (hot
and wet) from November to March, cool and dry from April to October.
French Polynesia is an overseas territory of France. It lies in
the Pacific Ocean, about 4,500 kilometres south of Hawaii.
The territory is made up of about 120 islands scattered over an
area about the size of western Europe.
These islands consist mainly of the Austral, Gambier, Marquesas,
Society, and Tuamotu island groups. Papeete, on Tahiti--one of the
Society islands--is the territory's capital.
The French annexed various Polynesian island groups during the 19th
century. In September 1995, France stirred up widespread protests
by resuming nuclear testing on the Mururoa atoll after a three-year
The tests were suspended in January 1996.