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Coordinates: 16°50′S 144°45′W / 16.833°S 144.750°W / -16.833; -144.750

Tahanea is located in Pacific Ocean
Location of Tahanea Atoll in the Pacific Ocean
NASA picture of Tahanea Atoll.

Tahanea Atoll is an atoll of the Tuamotu Archipelago in French Polynesia. It is located 12 km to the east of Faaite Atoll.

Tahanea Atoll is quite large. It measures 48 km in length with a maximum width of 15.2 km. The southern reef fringing the atoll is wider than the northern one, but the largest islands are on the narrower northern rim. Tahanea has a wide and deep lagoon with a surface of 545 km². There are three deep, navigable, passes into the lagoon, which are called Motupuapua, Teavatapu and Otao.

Tahanea is uninhabited, but it is visited occasionally by islanders from neighboring atolls.


The first recorded European to sight Tahanea was Spanish navigator Domingo de Boenechea on 9 November 1774 on ship Aguila. He named this atoll "San Julián".[1][2]

Russian oceanic explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen visited Tahanea in 1820 on ships Vostok and Mirni. He named this atoll "Chichagov" .


Tahanea belongs to the commune of Anaa that also includes the associated commune of Faaite with the atoll of Faaite and the uninhabited atolls of Tahanea and Motutunga.


  1. ^ Sharp, Andrew The discovery of the Pacific Islands Oxford, 1960, p.125,126,127.
  2. ^ Brand, Donald D. The Pacific Basin: A History of its Geographical Explorations The American Geographical Society, New York, 1967, p.139.

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