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Tahiti History

Tahiti is the largest and most populated island in French Polynesia. With a population of 169,674 people, the island of Tahiti is considered a melting pot and home to all different types of people. Tahiti consists of two roughly round portions centered on a volcanic mountain. The Northwestern portion is named Tahiti Nui, the big Tahiti. While the Southern portion of the island is called Tahiti Iti, the small Tahiti. Tahiti big and small maybe apart of the same island,

but they vary significantly in characteristics. Big Tahiti is heavily populated and has good infrastructure such as roads and highways, while small Tahiti is just the opposite. If you are looking for a secluded vacation spot, then small Tahiti is just the place for you. Small Tahiti is isloated and is only accessable by boat or a hike. Just think of it as your personal desserted paradise island.

With greenery and a tropical rain forest climate, Tahiti has been the home to native Polynesians since 300 AD. Tahiti was first spotted by a spansih ship in 1606. Samuel Wallis, an English sea capatain, sighted the Island on June 18, 1767, during his journey to discover Terra Australis Incognita, a landmark below the equator. Wallis was considered the first European to discover the island of Tahiti. A little after Wallis’ arrival it is said that French navigator Lois Antoine De Bougainville landed on the opposite side of Tahiti and claimed it for the King of France. Due to both of these expeditions, a French-British rivalry for control of the islands was created. Until the year 1847, Tahiti was ruled by the French Pomare Dynasty. In 1957, all of the islands of Tahiti were reconstructed as the overseas French territory and were later called the French Polynesia.

The relaxing and content nature of local people in addition to the exotic traits of the island make Tahiti a romantic getaway for Westerners and European visitors today. Tahiti is home to various types of nationality’s, the majority of them being Polynesian and of French decent. French citizens in Tahiti have full civil and political right on the island. Both Tahitian and the French language is used throughout the entire island, in addition to the English language as well. Tourism is the most significant industry in Tahiti especially during the month of July, when the Heiva Festival in Papeete occurs. This festival celebrates the indigenous culture and the commemoration of the storming of the Bastille in France. The Heiva festival has been an important event in Tahtian history for the past 122 years. Tahitians gather in Papeete from many islands to display crafts, compete in anciet sporting events, and recreate traditional dance performances.

The beauty of dance and drama is a significant aspect of the islands history and culture. In ancient times, dancing was linked to all aspects of life. People would dance to express joy, welcome a visitor, pray to a god, or even to seduce a mate. Musical instruments such a drums, conch shells, and nasal flutes accompany the dances that are performed. Arrive to Tahiti with an open mind. Try new things, enjoy the beauty, and get to know the people of the island. Once you depart the island you will take back more than you arrived with, since this island will share memories and experiences with you that you never thought would be possible. Tahiti is just that, a cultural melting pot where history, and culture will live on in your heart, long after you have departed the island!

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