Society Islands

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Society Islands
Native name: Îles de la Société
Flag of the Society Islands.svg
Location Pacific Ocean
Coordinates Coordinates: 17°32′S 149°50′W / 17.533°S 149.833°W / -17.533; -149.833
Archipelago Society Islands
Major islands Tahiti, Moorea, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Huahine
Area 1,590 km2 (610 sq mi)
Highest elevation 2,241 m (7,352 ft)
Highest point Mont Orohena
Overseas collectivity French Polynesia
Largest city Papeete (pop. 131,695 urban)
Population 227,807 [1] (as of Aug. 2007 census)
Density 143 /km2 (370 /sq mi)

The Society Islands (French: Îles de la Société or officially Archipel de la Société; Tahitian: Tōtaiete mā) 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."[2]

Map of Society Islands


The islands are divided, both geographically and administratively into two groups:

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).[1] They cover a land area of 1,590 square kilometres (610 sq mi).


Each of the Society Islands has a small airport. Faaa International Airport is located in Tahiti, and is the largest airport in the Society Islands.


  1. ^ a b (French) Institut Statistique de Polynésie Française (ISPF). "Recensement de la population 2007" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2007-12-03. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  2. ^ Horwitz, Tony. Oct. 2003, Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before, Bloomsbury, ISBN 0-7475-6455-8

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