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 moratorium. The tests were suspended in January 1996. In recent years, French Polynesia's autonomy has been considerably expanded.
French Polynesia (Polynésie française) is a set of islands that is an overseas country attached to France. Located in the South Pacific Ocean, it is halfway between California and Australia.
Tahiti and her islands cover four million square kilometers of ocean which is the same area as the European Union. However the land above sea level accounts for some 7,000 square kilometers consisting of 118 islands, grouped into five archipelagoes (4 volcanic, 1 coral).
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 and Nauru.
Read more about French Polynesia in our French Polynesia travel guide »