Marquesas Islands


Marquesas Islands
/mahr kay"zeuhz, -seuhz, -seuhs/
a group of French islands in the S Pacific. 5593; 480 sq. mi. (1245 sq. km).

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Island group (pop., 1996: 8,064), French Polynesia.

Located in the central South Pacific Ocean northeast of Tahiti, the Marquesas comprise 10 islands. The southeastern group includes Hiva Oa, the largest and most populous island and the burial place of artist Paul Gauguin; Fatu Hiva and Tahuata; and the uninhabited Motane and Fatu Huku. The northwestern group comprises Nuku Hiva, Ua Pu, Ua Huka, Eiao, and Hatutu. The Spanish explorer Àlvaro de Mendaña de Neira named the islands for the marquesa de Mendoza in 1595. Annexed by France in 1842, the Marquesas form an administrative division of French Polynesia with headquarters at Taiohae on Nuku Hiva.

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▪ islands, French Polynesia
French  Îles Marquises  

      pair of volcanic archipelagoes in French Polynesia in the central South Pacific Ocean, 740 miles (1,200 km) northeast of Tahiti. The islands are, for the most part, high and craggy, with jagged peaks rising in places to some 4,000 feet (1,200 metres). The largest (77 square miles [200 square km]) and most populated island of the southeastern group is Hiva Oa, the burial place of the French artist Paul Gauguin (Gauguin, Paul) and the Belgian singer Jacques Brel; the group also includes Fatu Hiva and Tahuata, each about 23 square miles (60 square km) in area, and the uninhabited Motane and Fatu Huku. The northwestern group comprises Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, Ua Huka, Eiao, and Hatutu.

      The Marquesas are believed to have been inhabited as early as 340 BCE, although there is disagreement among scholars regarding the origin of the settlers. The southeastern islands were sighted in 1595 by the Spanish explorer Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira, who named them for his patron, the marqués de Mendoza, viceroy of Peru. Capt. James Cook (Cook, James) visited Fatu Huku in 1774. In 1791 the American sea captain Joseph Ingraham sighted the northwestern group and named them Washington Islands. The whole group, annexed by the French in 1842, now forms an administrative subdivision of French Polynesia, with headquarters at Hakapehi (Tai-o-hae) on Nuku Hiva. Because the islands lack coastal plains and coral reefs, habitation is largely restricted to the narrow valleys where streams run down from the mountains. Chief agricultural products are copra, taro, breadfruit, coffee, and vanilla. Tourism is a developing industry, and the islands are popular with cruising yachts. Most of the residents are Roman Catholic. Total land area (including inland water area) 405 square miles (1,049 square km). Pop. (2002) 8,712.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Marquesas Islands — Marquesas redirects here. For the uninhabited island group in the U.S. State of Florida, see Marquesas Keys. Marquesan redirects here. For the language, see Marquesan language. Coordinates: 9°27′16″S 139°23′20″W /  …   Wikipedia

  • Marquesas Islands — • Located in Polynesia, includes all the Marquesas Islands Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Marquesas Islands     Vicariate Apostolic of Marquesas Islands      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Marquesas Islands — [mär kā′zəz, mär kā′səz] group of islands in French Polynesia, in the E South Pacific: 405 sq mi (1,049 sq km); pop. 7,500 …   English World dictionary

  • Marquesas Islands — or French Îles Marquises geographical name islands S Pacific N of Tuamotu Archipelago in French Polynesia capital Taiohae (on Nuku Hiva) area 480 square miles (1248 square kilometers), population 7358 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • MARQUESAS ISLANDS —    (5), a group of 13 small volcanic mountainous islands in the S. Pacific, 3600 m. W. of Peru, under French protection since 1842, are peopled by a handsome but savage race, which is rapidly dying out; Chinese immigrants grow cotton; the more… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Marquesas Islands — Mar•que′sas Is′lands [[t]mɑrˈkeɪ zəz, səz, səs[/t]] n. pl. geg a group of French islands in the S Pacific. 6000; 480 sq. mi. (1245 sq. km) Mar•que′san, n. adj …   From formal English to slang

  • Marquesas Islands — /maˌkeɪsæs ˈaɪləndz/ (say mah.kaysas uyluhndz) plural noun a group of French islands in the southern Pacific. 1243 km2. French, Îles Marquises …   Australian English dictionary

  • Marquesas Islands — noun a group of volcanic islands in the south central Pacific; part of French Polynesia • Syn: ↑Iles Marquises • Instance Hypernyms: ↑archipelago • Part Holonyms: ↑French Polynesia, ↑French Oceania …   Useful english dictionary

  • Marquesas Islands —  Archipelago in South Pacific …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Marquesas Islands — isl. group, French Polynesia; 492 sq. mi …   Webster's Gazetteer


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