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NASA picture of Anaa Atoll
Anaa is located in French Polynesia
Location Pacific Ocean
Coordinates 17°20′31″S 145°30′31″W / 17.34194°S 145.50861°W / -17.34194; -145.50861
Archipelago Tuamotus
Area 90 km2 (35 sq mi)  (lagoon)
38 km2 (15 sq mi) (above water)
Length 29.5 km (18.33 mi)
Width 6.5 km (4.04 mi)
Highest elevation 11 m (36 ft)
Highest point (unnamed)
Overseas collectivity French Polynesia
Administrative subdivision Tuamotus
Commune Anaa
Largest settlement Tukuhora
Population 504[1] (2016)
Pop. density 13 /km2 (34 /sq mi)

Anaa, Nganaa-nui (or Ara-ura)[2] is an atoll in the Tuamotu archipelago, in French Polynesia. It is located in the north-west of the archipelago, 350 km to the east of Tahiti. It is oval in shape, 29.5 km in length and 6.5 km wide, with a total land area of 38 km² and a population of 504. The atoll is made up by eleven small barren islands with deeper and more fertile soil than other atolls in the Tuamotus. The lagoon is shallow, without entrance, and formed by three main basins. Although it does not have any navigable access, the water of the lagoon renews by several small channels that can be crossed walking.


The atoll of Anaa was known by the legendary cruelty of its soldiers who in the seventeenth century, dominated the north-west of the Tuamotus.

The Spanish expedition of Pedro Fernández de Quirós landed on Anaa on 10 February 1606 and named it Conversión de San Pablo.[3] Its sight was recorded by French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville in 1768.[4] James Cook sighted it in 1769. Because of its shape, he called it Chain Island. Later, Anaa was visited by Spanish explorer Domingo de Boenechea,[5] on November 1 of 1772, who called it Isla de Todos los Santos (All Saints Island) because they arrived on All Saints' Day.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, control of the atoll went to the Pomaré of Tahiti. Around 1850 Anaa was an active center of the nacre commerce and copra, with a maximum population of 2,000. The missionary competition between Mormons of North America and French Catholics led to a revolt in 1852, and an intervention by French colonial troops.

In 1878 and 1906 Anaa suffered severe hurricane damages and was completely flooded. After the hurricane of 1983, the only village was moved and reconstructed, incorporating a refuge shelter with capacity for all its population.

Anaa has a territorial airport which was inaugurated in 1976.


The main village is Tukuhora, also called Anaa, with a population of about 350. The other small villages like Temarie, Otepipi, Mania and Tematahoa have small seasonal population. The population subsists mainly on fishing, the cultivation of nacre and the production of copra.

Commune of Anaa[edit]

Location of Anaa in the Tuamotu Archipelago
Location of Anaa in the Tuamotu Archipelago
Coordinates: 17°20′31″S 145°30′31″W / 17.3419°S 145.5087°W / -17.3419; -145.5087Coordinates: 17°20′31″S 145°30′31″W / 17.3419°S 145.5087°W / -17.3419; -145.5087
Country France
Overseas collectivity French Polynesia
Area 59 km2 (23 sq mi)
Population (2016)1 912
 • Density 15/km2 (40/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 98711 /
1 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Anaa is the capital of the commune (municipality) that also includes the associated atoll of Faaite and the uninhabited atolls of Tahanea and Motutunga.


Atoll main
commune associée of Anaa
Anaa Tukuhora 504 38 90 17°20′S 145°30′W / 17.333°S 145.500°W / -17.333; -145.500
commune associée of Faaite
Faaite Hitianau 408 9 227 16°43′S 145°19′W / 16.717°S 145.317°W / -16.717; -145.317
Motutunga - - 2.5 126 17°04′S 144°17′W / 17.067°S 144.283°W / -17.067; -144.283
Tahanea - - 9.5 522.5 16°50′S 144°45′W / 16.833°S 144.750°W / -16.833; -144.750
commune of Anaa Tukuhora 912 59 965.5


Faaite is an atoll located 60 km to the north of Anaa. The total surface of the atoll is of 230 km². Its dry land area has a surface of 9 km². The inner lagoon has a navigable channel to the ocean. The main village is Hitianau, with a total population of 246. It was discovered by John Turnbull in 1802, the first retailer of the Pacific who used the route of Tahiti to Hawaii. Historically the atoll also has been known as Miloradovich.


Tahanea is an atoll of 63 km², with three passages towards the interior of the lagoon. It is uninhabited and is visited occasionally. It was discovered by Domingo Bonaechea in 1772, who called it San Julian. It has also been known as Tchitschagof.


Motutunga is an uninhabited atoll, with a passage to the interior of the nonnavigable lagoon. Domingo Bonaechea called it San Blas. It has also been known as Adventure Island.


  1. ^ "Population". Institut de la statistique de la Polynésie française. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  2. ^ Young, J.L. (1899). "Names of the Paumotu Islands, with the old names so far as they are known". Journal of the Polynesian Society. 8 (4): 264–268. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  3. ^ Langdon, Robert The Lost Caravel Sidney, 1975, p.47.
  4. ^ Tahiti et ses archipels par Pierre-Yves Toullelan, éditions Karthala, 1991, ISBN 2-86537-291-X, p.61.
  5. ^ Salmond, Anne (2010). Aphrodite's Island. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 241. ISBN 9780520261143.

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