Charles Darwin on stamps and postmarks of French Polynesia
is an overseas collectivity of France
and its sole overseas country.
It comprises 121 geographically dispersed islands and atolls stretching over more than 2,000 kilometres
in the South Pacific Ocean.
The total land area of French Polynesia is 3,521 square kilometres, with a population of about 280,000.
Among its 121 islands and atolls, 75 were inhabited at the 2017 census.
Tahiti, which is in the Society Islands group, is the most populous island, being home to nearly 69% of
the population of French Polynesia as of 2017.
Papeete, located on Tahiti, is the capital of French Polynesia.
Tahiti and nearby islands were first settled by Polynesian peoples around year 1000.
Since at least 1767, European explorers began traveling through the region,
visiting the islands of French Polynesia on several occasions.
By the 1820s the population was said to have converted to Christianity.
In 1842, the French took over the islands and established a French protectorate that they called
Établissements français d'Océanie (EFO) (French Establishments/Settlements of Oceania).
In 1946, the EFO became an overseas territory under the constitution of the French Fourth Republic
and Polynesians were granted the right to vote through citizenship.
In 1957, the EFO were renamed French Polynesia.
In 1983 French Polynesia became a member of the Pacific Community, a regional development organization.
Since 28 March 2003, French Polynesia has been an overseas collectivity of the French Republic under the
constitutional revision of article 74, and later gained, with law 2004-192 of 27 February 2004,
an administrative autonomy, two symbolic manifestations of which are the title of the President of French Polynesia
and its additional designation as an overseas country.
The first postage stamps used in French Polynesia were the general stamps of the French Colonies from 1862.
Stamps inscribed "Établissements de l’Oceanie" (French Settlements in Oceania) became available in 1892 with the Navigation and Commerce issue.
Stamps since 1958 have been inscribed "French Polynesia".
Official stamps of French Polynesia related to Paleontology: Charles Darwin
In November 1835, Charles Darwin visited the island of Tahiti during his voyage on the HMS Beagle.
He was impressed by what he perceived as the positive influence the missionaries had on the sobriety
and moral character of the population.
Darwin praised the scenery but was not flattering towards Tahiti’s Queen Pōmare IV.
During the visit, Captain Fitzroy negotiated payment towards compensation for
an attack on an British ship by Tahitians in 1833.
Postmarks of French Polynesia related to Paleontology: Charles Darwin
- [R1] French Polynesia:
- [R2] Postal History and Philately of French Polynesia:
Links to official website of the Post Authority, stamp catalog and a list of new stamps of French Polynesia are here
- [R3] Charles Darwin visit of French Polynesia:
Many thanks to
Dr. Peter Voice
from Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Western Michigan University,
for the draft page review and his very valuable comments.