Society Islands: Tahitian Archives


in Empire of Love

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780195162950
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199867660 | DOI:
Society Islands: Tahitian Archives

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This chapter examines the seizure of Tahiti by French warships and the long resistance of Queen Pomare and chiefly leaders from around the Polynesian islands. The story focuses on the ways that the history of Tahiti, so torn by violence, civil war, and anticolonial struggle, was erased by French imperialists so that by the middle 19th century the primary representations became “islands of love.” Analyses of written and visual production, particularly the works of Pierre Loti and Paul Gauguin, demonstrate the ways that erotic loves of Tahitian “natives” came to occlude violent warfare, and the complicated implications of battles and alliances between the Queen and French Naval officers struggling for control of the Society Islands.

Keywords: Tahiti; Society Islands; French Imperialism; culture; anticolonial violence; Queen Pomare; Pierre Loti; Paul Gauguin

Chapter.  9090 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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