History of the Jews in French Polynesia

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The history of the Jews in French Polynesia can be traced back to the 19th century. The first Jew to settle in French Polynesia was an English-Jewish merchant named Alexander Salmon. Salmon married into the Tahitian royal family when he married the Polynesian princess Arrioehau, a member of the Tevi tribe. At the time Tahitian law prohibited marriage to foreigners, however Queen Pomare IV suspended the law for three days to allow for the marriage. Their daughter Johanna Marau Ta‘aroa was the last queen of Tahiti.

More Jewish settlers arrived later, however when Catholic priests arrived most Jews converted to Catholicism and assimilated. The majority of Jews in French Polynesia are of North African Sephardi heritage. The first organized Jewish community was established by Algerian-Jewish refugees in the 1960s. The Jewish community is represented by the Association Culturelle des Israelites et Sympathisants de Polynesie (ACISPO), which was established in 1982. A synagogue and Jewish community center were established in 1993 in Papeete.

As of 2013, the Jewish population is around 120. [1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tahiti". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 2013-11-19. 

External links[edit]