Map of Austral Islands, showing location of Raivavae
|Area||16 km2 (6.2 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||437 m (1,434 ft)|
|Overseas collectivity||French Polynesia|
|Population||905 (as of 2007)|
|Density||56.56 /km2 (146.49 /sq mi)|
It sustains a population of 905 people (as of 2007 census) on 16 km2 (6.2 sq mi) of land. Its highest point is the top of a dead volcano which is 437 meters high.
First sighting by Europeans was recorded by the Spanish naval officer Tomás Gayangos on board of the frigate "El Aguila" on 5 February 1775. Gayangos had taken over the command of the expedition of Domingo de Bonechea of 1774 after his death in Tahiti and was returning to the Viceroyalty of Peru. Main source describing this sighting is that of José Andía y Varela, pilot of the packet boat "Jupiter" that accompanied "El Aguila" in this return trip. On 6 February a boat was sent in, and made contact with the inhabitants at the shore edge, but landing was not made. Raivavae was charted as Santa Rosa by the Spaniards. The inhabitants said the name of their island was Oraibaba.
It was annexed by France in 1880.
- Andía y Varela, José Relación del viaje hecho a la isla de Amat, por otro nombre Otahiti, y descubrimiento de las islas adyacentes en los años 1774 y 1775, Barcelona, 1947, p.83
- Sharp, Andrew The discovery of the Pacific Islands Oxford, 1960, p.126,127
- Corney, Bolton Granvill The quest and occupation of Tahiti by emissaries of Spain during the years 1772-1776, London, 1913, Vol I, p.XLVII
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