History of Bora Bora, Le Maitai -

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Evidence of Bora Bora's military history during World War Two

Historians believe that Bora Bora has been inhabited since the ninth century, after the first Polynesian settlers sailed through Teavanui Pass, the only break in the giant coral reef that surrounds the island. 

They named the island Vavau, which means, “First Born.” It is likely that these first residents were explorers from Tonga, but there is no physical proof of this. 

The name Vavau developed over the years to become Pora Pora and then Bora Bora, probably in 1769 when Captain Cook established the Leeward Society Islands

Two European explorers both laid claim to the island just one year apart in the 18th century, English navigator Samuel Wallis for Great Britain followed by the French navigator Louis Antoine de Bougainville.
Beautiful Bora Bora is part of the Society Islands      Bora Bora's beauty and mystery has been shared by many artists, writers and poets.

Protected by its warriors, the island resisted colonization until conquered by France in 1888. In 1946, Polynesia, including the Society Islands, became an overseas territory of France. By 1958, it became French Polynesia

The USA discovered Bora Bora during World War II. The American military used the island as a supply base in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941

The 5,000 GIs set up coastal defense guns to protect against a possible surprise attack by Japan. They also built the road that hugs the coastline and the island’s first airfield on Motu Mute. 

Bora Bora’s worldwide reputation has been built by artists, writers and navigators. American author Herman Melville wrote stories about Polynesian life in 1846 and 1847

In the 1890s, French artist Paul Gauguin published an illustrated book called Noa Noa, telling the story of the Areori who resided on Bora Bora, and of the God’s first miracle creation Noa (fragrance). 

This is a truly special place, so far away from anywhere.