The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
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CIA. Via Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection
Polynesia takes in the Society
Islands, the Tuamotu
group to their east, the
Marqueses to their north,
and the Tubuai
group in the south, and the Gambiers in the southeast. The total
land area was about 1520 square miles (3940 km2) with 29,500
native, 5000 French, and
4500 Chinese inhabitants in 1941.
These islands are beautiful, but isolated and largely devoid of natural resources, other than phosphate at Makatea. They were sufficiently far from Japan that the war largely passed them by, although the U.S. Navy did build an important refueling station at Bora Bora, and the Japanese had plans to move this way that were abandoned after their disastrous defeat at Midway.
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