Austral Islands

Austral Islands

Austral Islands, volcanic island group (2002 pop. 6,386), South Pacific, part of French Polynesia. They are sometimes known as the Tubuai Islands. The group comprises seven islands, plus islets, with a total land area of c.115 sq mi (300 sq km). Tubuai, the largest island (c.17 sq mi/44 sq km), was visited by Capt. James Cook in 1777 and was annexed by France in 1880. European diseases and slavers very nearly wiped out the native Polynesian population of the islands, especially on Rapa. In 1938, French authorities imposed strict regulations on immigration and tourism. Coffee, arrowroot, tobacco, and copra are produced on the islands.

Group of islands (pop., 2002: 6,386), southern French Polynesia. The southernmost part of French Polynesia (austral is Latin for “south”), the islands form a chain about 800 mi (1,300 km) long. They were sighted by Capt. James Cook in 1769 and 1777. They were taken over by the French in the late 19th century. The inhabited islands are Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai, Raevavae, and Rapa.

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Tubuai is the name of a group of islands and also the name of its main island, being part of the Austral Islands, French Polynesia, in the Pacific Ocean. Tubuai, the main island of the Tubuai Island group, is located at . It is 640 km south of Tahiti. It sustains a population of 2,049 people on 45 km² of land. Tubuai was annexed by France in 1881.

Tubuai is portrayed as an island of cannibals in one of the movie versions of the Mutiny on the Bounty novel.


Tubuai is the administrative capital of the Austral Islands, and the commune consists solely of the one island.

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