Tahiti (English: ; Tahitian [taˈhiti]; French pronunciation: [ta.iti]; previously also known as Otaheite) is the largest island of the Windward group of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, located in the central part of the Pacific Ocean. Divided into two parts, Tahiti Nui (bigger, northwestern part) and Tahiti Iti (smaller, southeastern part), the island was formed from volcanic activity; it is high and mountainous with surrounding coral reefs. Its population is 189,517 inhabitants (2017), making it the most populous island of French Polynesia and accounting for 68.7% of its total population.
Tahiti is the economic, cultural, and political centre of French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity (and the sole overseas country) of the French Republic. The capital of French Polynesia, Papeete, is located on the northwest coast of Tahiti. The only international airport in the region, Faa'a International Airport, is on Tahiti near Papeete. Tahiti was originally settled by Polynesians between 300 and 800 CE. They represent about 70% of the island's population, with the rest made up of Europeans, Chinese, and those of mixed heritage. The island was part of the Kingdom of Tahiti until its annexation by France in 1880, when it was proclaimed a colony of France, and the inhabitants became French citizens. French is the only official language, although the Tahitian language (Reo Tahiti) is widely spoken.
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