The Society Islands were visited in 1767 by the English navigator Samuel Wallis, who claimed them for Great Britain. A year later, however, the French navigator Louis Antoine de Bougainville established a French claim. They were named the Society Islands in 1769 by Capt. James Cook. The group became a protectorate of France in 1843 and a colony in 1880. In 1946, French Polynesia, including the Society Islands, became an overseas territory of France.
Archipelago (pop., 2002: 214,445), western French Polynesia, South Pacific Ocean. Its chief island is Tahiti. The Society Islands comprise two groups, the Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands. They are volcanic in origin and mountainous. Claimed for Britain in 1767, the islands were visited in 1769 by Capt. James Cook with a scientific expedition of the Royal Society (hence their name). They were claimed by France in 1786 and became a French protectorate in 1842, a French colony in 1881, and a part of French Oceania in 1903. Their chief products are copra and pearls.
Learn more about Society Islands with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Administratively, the Windward Islands form the administrative subdivision of the Windward Islands (subdivision administrative des Îles du Vent), one of French Polynesia's five administrative subdivisions. Geographically, the administrative subdivision of the Windward Islands is identical with the electoral district of the Windward Islands (circonscription des Îles du Vent), one of French Polynesia's 6 electoral districts (circonsriptions électorales) for the Assembly of French Polynesia (see also Politics of French Polynesia).
A new species of thomisid spider (Araneae, Thomisidae) from the society islands with a description of the male of Misumenops melloleitaoi.
May 01, 2006; ABSTRACT. This study revises the status of crab spiders (Araneae, Thomisidae) endemic to the Society Islands, a volcanic...