The Society Islands (French: Îles de la Société or officially Archipel de la Société) are a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. They are politically part of French Polynesia. The archipelago is suspected to have been named by Captain James Cook supposedly in honour of the Royal Society, the sponsor of the first British scientific survey of the islands; however, Cook himself stated in his journal that he called the islands Society "as they lay contiguous to one another."
The islands became a French protectorate in 1843 and a colony in 1880. They have a population of 227,807 inhabitants (as of August 2007 census). They cover a land area of 1,590 square kilometres (610 sq mi).