Located Bora was uninhabited up until the ninth

Located in the Pacific Ocean, Bora Bora is a small island apart of the

Society Islands in French Polynesia, just northwest of Tahiti. According to a
2007 census, Bora Bora is the home to roughly 8,800 people, with the majority
of its inhabitants being of Polynesian decent (World Atlas). The webpage
Encyclopedia Britannica says, “It is formed from two volcanic peaks rising to
2,385 feet (727 metres) and 2,169 feet (661 metres) and dropping abruptly to
the lagoon. Bora-Bora is one of the centres of the tourist trade in French
Polynesia.” Although a popular tourist destination, Bora Bora has more to
offer than it seems, its deep roots date back farther than the early 18th
century, filling the island with a rich history, unique social and political
events, and literature.

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Although unknown by many today, Bora Bora offers an interesting
history unique to its island. Prior to European arrival in French Polynesia,
Bora Bora had a history and culture of its own. According to the webpage
World Atlas, “The island’s ancient name of Vava’u suggests the original
inhabitants of this 7-million-year old island arrived from Tonga, and
interestingly, there is no “B,” in the local Tahitian language, so its actual name
is Pora Pora, meaning “first born.”” The tales of Bora Bora’s traditions
suggests that there is significance behind its name. It is believed the god
Taaroa fished the islands from the sea with Bora Bora being the first after
Raiatea. Many believe the pronunciation “Bora Bora” began when Captain
Cook arrived to the island.

A webpage titled Maitai Sharing Island Warmth writes, “Historians

Pauline Cash

Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 9:50:26 PM Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time 08:6d:41:b8:d5:0a 6

believe that Bora Bora was uninhabited up until the ninth century, until the
arrival of Polynesian voyagers who first crossed the Teavanui pass, the only
point of passage in the immense barrier reef that surrounds the island.”
However, Bora Bora wasn’t seen by European explorers until the 18th century.
The webpage Encyclopedia Britannica claims, “Bora-Bora was sighted by
Dutch admiral Jacob Roggeveen in 1722.” This is the first documented
European sighting of Bora Bora. Following Roggeveen’s sighting, Captain
James Cook of Britain was the first documented European to land on the
shores of Bora Bora. The website Lonely Planet suggests, “James Cook sighted
Bora Bora in 1769.” Protestant Missionaries began venturing to Bora Bora in
the late 1700s with the hopes of converting the natives to Christianity. The
website Tahiti Nui Travel writes, “The first Missionaries accosted at the Venus
Pointe in the district of Mahina in Tahiti, on March 5th 1797 on board the Duff.”
Similar to the Missionaries in old Hawai’i, Missionaries often disregarded all
of Bora Bora’s religious and cultural practices. For example, the site One Bora
Bora states, “The missionaries destroyed many of Bora Bora’s marae (stone
temples), encouraging the locals to reject their beliefs and convert to

In the 19th century France gained control over French Polynesia. The
webpage Sea Semester states, “French Polynesia, a massive array of high
islands and atolls consisting of the Society Islands, Tuamotus, Marquesas,
Gambier and Austral Islands, was made a protectorate in 1842, conquered in
1847 and officially annexed in 1880. It remains in French hands today and has
become largely dependent on metropolitan France for economic stability.”

Pauline Cash

Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 9:50:26 PM Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time 08:6d:41:b8:d5:0a 7

According to BBC News, In the 1940s, French Polynesia gained its “overseas
country” status. The website The Diplomat states, “France labeled French
Polynesia an “overseas country inside the Republic,” endowing it with some
autonomy including authority over health, town planning and the
environment, while Paris continues to control its justice, education, security,
public order, currency, defense and foreign policy.”

If we jump forward in history to World War II, we see the key role Bora
Bora played to the United States. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on
December 7, 1941, the United States used Bora Bora as a military base to store
military equipment and to house U.S. soldiers. Lonely Planet states, “During
WWII a US supply base was established here, prompted by the bombing of
Pearl Harbor in 1941. From early 1942 to mid-1946 Operation Bobcat
transformed the island and, at its peak, up to 6000 men were stationed on
Bora Bora.” Luckily, during the time period Bora Bora never saw war, yet this
event shows how foreigners played a role in life on Bora Bora.

Despite the multitude of problems Bora Bora encountered with the
arrival of European settlers, Christian missionaries, and the effects of World
War II, modern-day Bora Bora has managed to maintain its culture. An article
titled “Tahitian Culture” states, “Over a hundred years later, many islanders
maintain these Christian beliefs, but there has also been a resurgence in the
celebration of indigenous culture, including dance.” Similar to the Native
Hawaiians, natives to Bora Bora use cultural dances in all aspects of life
including, celebrations, war, and to worship the gods 


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