French Polynesia in History

Historical Events

  • 1767-06-18 Samuel Wallis, an English sea captain, sights Tahiti and is considered the first European to reach the island

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1777-12-08 Captain James Cook leaves Society Islands

Captain/Explorer James Cook
Captain/Explorer
James Cook
  • 1835-10-20 HMS Beagle leaves Galapagos Archipelago to sail to Tahiti

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1835-11-15 Charles Darwin reaches Tahiti on board HMS Beagle

Naturalist Charles Darwin
Naturalist
Charles Darwin

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1891-04-01 French painter Paul Gauguin leaves Marseille for Tahiti

Painter and Sculptor Paul Gauguin
Painter and Sculptor
Paul Gauguin

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1947-08-07 Thor Heyerdahl and his crew of the Kon-Tiki crash into a reef in the Tuamotu Islands, French Polynesia after 101 days crossing the Pacific Ocean

Ethnographer, Archaeologist and Explorer Thor Heyerdahl
Ethnographer, Archaeologist and Explorer
Thor Heyerdahl
  • 1966-07-02 1st France nuclear test on Mururoa atoll
  • 1968-08-24 France becomes the world's fifth thermonuclear power with a detonation on Mururoa Atoll in the South Pacific
  • 1973-06-28 New Zealand ship HMNZS Otago sails for Mururoa nuclear test zone after France‚Äôs refusal to accept an International Court of Justice injunction against its atmospheric nuclear testing
  • 1991-11-18 France deports Marlon's daughter Cheyenne Brando to Tahiti

Famous Birthdays


Person of interestPerson of Interest

1848-06-07 Paul Gauguin, [Eugene Henri], French post-impressionist painter who worked in French Polynesia, born in Paris (d. 1903)

Painter and Sculptor Paul Gauguin
Painter and Sculptor
Paul Gauguin
  • 1926-06-21 Conrad Hall, Tahitian-born cinematographer (d. 2003)
  • 1944-11-01 Oscar Temaru, President of French Polynesia
  • 1970-02-20 Cheyenne Brando, Papeete Tahiti, daughter of Marlon
  • 1972-12-09 Fabrice Santoro, Tahiti, tennis star

Famous Weddings


Person of interestPerson of Interest

1892-01-11 Painter Paul Gauguin marries Teha'amana, a 13-year-old Tahitian girl

Painter and Sculptor Paul Gauguin
Painter and Sculptor
Paul Gauguin

Famous Deaths


Person of interestPerson of Interest

1903-05-08 Paul Gauguin [Eugene Henri], French painter who worked in French Polynesia, dies at 54

Painter and Sculptor Paul Gauguin
Painter and Sculptor
Paul Gauguin