Hao (French Polynesia)

Hao (French Polynesia)

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Hao (French Polynesia)

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Description:
Hao, or Haorangi, is a large coral atoll in the central part of the Tuamotu Archipelago. Because of its shape, French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville named it Harp Island.

Hao is located 920 km (575 mi.) to the east of Tahiti and is 55 km (34.5 mi) in length. The lagoon is one of the longest in French Polynesia and has only one navigable passage, at Kaki, on the north end of the atoll.

The chief town is the village of Otepa, where the main economic activity is the cultivation of pearls.

History

The first recorded European arriving on Hao was Pedro Fernández de Quirós in 1606. He was followed by José Andía y Varela in 1774.

Because of its shape, French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville named it Harp Island. In some maps it also appears as Bow Island.

Hao was the first atoll of the Tuamotus that Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen visited in 1820 on the ships Vostok and Mirni.

In the late 1980s, two French intelligence (DGSE) operatives were briefly confined to the military base on the island after France obtained their release from a New Zealand prison for sinking the Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior. Their earlier-than-agreed upon repatriation from the island by the French government became a diplomatic incident between New Zealand and France.

Hao's military airfield, now known as Hao Airport, was transferred to the civilian authorities in the year 2000. This airport serves many of the smaller eastern...
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