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NASA picture of Tahanea Atoll
Tahanea is located in French Polynesia
LocationPacific Ocean
Coordinates16°50′S 144°45′W / 16.833°S 144.750°W / -16.833; -144.750Coordinates: 16°50′S 144°45′W / 16.833°S 144.750°W / -16.833; -144.750
Area522.5 km2 (201.7 sq mi)  (lagoon)
9.5 km2 (3.7 sq mi) (above water)
Length48 km (29.8 mi)
Width15.2 km (9.44 mi)
Overseas collectivityFrench Polynesia
Administrative subdivisionTuamotus
PopulationUninhabited[1] (2012)
NASA picture of Tahanea Atoll.

Tahanea Atoll is an atoll of the Tuamotu Archipelago in French Polynesia. It is located 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) to the east of Faaite Atoll.

Tahanea Atoll measures 48 kilometres (30 mi) in length with a maximum width of 15.2 kilometres (9.4 miles). The southern reef fringing the atoll is wider than the northern one, but the largest islands are on the narrower northern rim. Tahanea has a wide and deep lagoon with a surface of 545 square kilometres (210 square miles) . There are three deep, navigable, passes into the lagoon, which are called Motupuapua, Teavatapu and Otao.

Tahanea is uninhabited, but visited occasionally by islanders from neighboring atolls.


The first recorded European to sight Tahanea was Spanish navigator Domingo de Boenechea on 9 November 1774 on ship Aguila. He named this atoll "San Julián".[2][3]

Russian oceanic explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen visited Tahanea in 1820 on ships Vostok and Mirni. He named this atoll "Chichagov" .


Tahanea belongs to the commune of Anaa that also includes the associated commune of Faaite with the atoll of Faaite and the uninhabited atolls of Tahanea and Motutunga.


  1. ^ "Population". Institut de la statistique de la Polynésie française. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  2. ^ Sharp, Andrew The discovery of the Pacific Islands Oxford, 1960, p.125,126,127.
  3. ^ Brand, Donald D. The Pacific Basin: A History of its Geographical Explorations The American Geographical Society, New York, 1967, p.139.

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