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Tahaa (Leeward Islands, French Polynesia)

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Last modified: 2017-05-22 by ivan sache
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Flag of Tahaa - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 17 February 2017


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Presentation of Tahaa

Quoting the website of the Presidency of French Polynesia (page no longer online):

Located 230 kilometers (143 miles) west of Tahiti in the Leeward Islands, Tahaa shares the same lagoon as the island of Raiatea. Tahaa, with an area of 88 square kilometers (34 sq. miles), has a circular shape, but the large Faaaha, Haamene, Apu and Hurepiti Bays indent its coastline.
Due to its off-the-beaten path location in terms of shipping routes and the centers of activity, Tahaa hardly developed any productive activities other than farming and fishing. In 1983, 457 out of 785 persons with employment were classified in the primary sector. Copra and vegetable crop harvesting have since been added along with the reforestation of more than 700 hectares (1,730 acres) of the island's slopes and a rapid growth in growing of vanilla.

The narrowness of the plains and the relative dryness of the west coast probably explain the big archeological discoveries made along the east coast. Among the 44 sites, 125 structures have been identified, with some located underwater in the lagoon. This is explained by the sinking of the island, which has led to the immersion of the embankments created by the ancient Polynesians using landfill to wide a narrow coastal plain.

During the 18th and 19th centuries Tahaa became the object of rivalries between the kings of Bora Bora and Raiatea. Tahaa was conquered in 1770 by King Tapoa I of Bora Bora, but was taken away by Tamatoa III in 1818.
On a political level, the Jarnac agreement signed by England and France in 1847 guaranteed independence for the Leeward Islands. Tahaa also obtained a certain autonomy from Raiatea following general revolt by the tribal chiefs against the tyranny of Tamatoa V. Tahaa was annexed by France in 1888, but that did not officially take place until 1897 after a war among the Windward Islands.

Ivan Sache, 22 August 2005


Flag of Tahaa

The flag of Tahaa used during the futsal competition of the 6th Islands' Festival (April 2014; photos) is dark green with a brown map of the island superimposed with a white vanilla flower and "COMMUNE DE TAHAA" (Municipality of Taha), in light green letters, above.

Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, Daniel Lundberg, Pascal Vagnat & Olivier Touzeau, 19 February 2017