Marquesas Islands names

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The Marquesas Islands were the first of the island groups discovered by European explorers in the Pacific. Over the centuries, these Polynesian islands have been variously known by a number of names.

The islands are known in Marquesan variously as Te Henua Kenana or Te Henua ‘Enana in North Marquesan and Te Fenua ‘Enata in South Marquesan.

The name "Islas de la Marquesa de Mendoza" was given them by the first European visitor, the Spanish explorer and navigator, Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira, in honor of the wife of the Viceroy of Perú, upon his discovery thereof, in 1595. She was the patron of the voyage.

The islands are divided roughly into two groups, along geographical, linguistic, and cultural lines, into the Northern Marquesas and Southern Marquesas, each comprising an approximately equal number of islands and shoals.

While there is no native Marquesan name to differentiate between the northern and southern groups, they have been differentiated as such, at least by American navigators, historically, by the names "Washington Islands" to refer to the northern Marquesas, and "Mendaña Islands" to refer to the southern Marquesas.

Following is a list of the islands, giving first their most widely accepted Marquesan names, followed by variants:

  • Eiao
    • Fremantle
    • Knox
    • Masse
    • Robert
    • Hiaou
    • Iau
  • Hatutu
    • Hatutaa
    • Hatoutou
    • Chanal
    • Hancock
    • Langdon
  • Motu One
    • Sable
    • Îlot de Sable
    • Lincoln
  • Motu Iti
    • Hatu Iti
  • Nuku Hiva
    • Nukuhiva
    • Nukahiva
    • Adams
    • Baux
    • Marchand
  • Ua Huka (including Motu Papa and Epiti)
    • Uahuka
    • Huahuna
    • Riou
    • Roahonga
    • Solide
  • Ua Pu (including Motu Mohoke and Motu ‘Oa)
    • Ua Pou
    • Uapou
    • Uapu
    • Huapu
    • Adams
    • Marchand
  • Fatu Uku
    • Fatuhuku
    • Fatuuku
    • Fatou Houkou
    • Hood's Island
  • Hiva ‘Oa (including Hanakee)
    • Hivaoa
    • Hiva Hoa
    • Hiavaoa
    • Dominica
  • Tahuata
    • Taahuata
    • Tuhuata
    • Santa Christina
  • Moho Tani
    • Motane
    • Mohotane
    • San Pedro
  • Fatu Hiva
    • Fatu Iva
    • Fatouhiva
    • Magdalena
  • Motu Nao
    • Thomasset Rock
    • Rocher Thomasset
    • Ariane Rock