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Fatu Hiva (Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia)

Last modified: 2011-11-11 by ivan sache
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[Fatu Hiva flag]

Flag of Fatu Hiva - Image by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 24 December 2008


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Presentation of Fatu Hiva

Quoting the website of the Presidency of French Polynesia (page no longer online):

Located at 10º29'S S and 10º29'S and 138º39'W, the island of Fatu Hiva is the furthest south of the Marquesas Islands. It has an area of 80 square kilometers (30.89 sq. miles).
Fatu Hiva is the remains of two volcanoes, one of which rose from the crater of the other, the ridges of both craters forming a jagged mountain spine whose highest altitude is 960 meters (3,150 ft.). The two craters form arcs open to the west, where there are two bays - Hanavave Bay, also known as the Bay of Virgins, in the north and Omoa Bay to the south. Several platforms indicating ancient sacred places as well as funeral grottos in the cliffs are found around Omoa Bay, M. Bastard wrote in Les Marquises (The Marquesas Islands).

Spanish explorer Mendana arrived in Omoa Bay in 1595, baptizing the island "la Magdalena". Norwegian naturalist Thor Heyerdahl stayed there from 1937-1938. In his book "Fatu Hiva: A Return to Nature", Heyerdahl tells of his stay on Fatu Hiva and recalls the birth of his theory of how Indians from South America were the first people to settle in today’s French Polynesia. That led to Heyderdahl's famous Kon Tiki expedition, which was aimed to prove his theory. However, that theory has since been abandoned.

Omoa is a small village located in the southwest corner of Fatu Hiva at the foot of a magnificent but stormy bay with a difficult access. Yet, it is the administrative center for the island's district. Omoa's population was 631 during the 1996 census. Copra, oranges, dried bananas and tapa are exported from Omoa.

Ivan Sache, 20 August 2005


Flag of Fatu Hiva

The unofficial flag of Fatu Hiva, seen at the headquarters of the Tahitian Football Federation and used during the Games of the Marquesas Islands 2006 (poster, is yellow with a black frame and the name of the island in black letters in the middle.

Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 24 December 2008