Archaeological evidence suggests that the Marquesas Islands were
settled by AD 300 by Polynesians from Tonga and Samoa Islands.
The western portion of the Society Islands was probably inhabited
by AD 800.The first Europeans to arrive on the island groups were
16th-century Spanish and Portuguese explorers.
The French took control of the islands in the 18th century. Tahiti,
the largest island in French Polynesia, was made a French protectorate
in 1842 and a colony in 1880.