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mardi 15 janvier 2013

How France annexed Bora Bora…


or

When the Pearl of the Pacific annexation merges with the feast

To prevent Germany from appropriating Leeward Islands before the Great War of 1914, France and England ended the effective Condominium.

This condominium was established after "Pritchard’s case", so that Leeward Islands serve as buffer between the spheres of French and British influence at that time.

France appropriated Winward Islands, the rest of Polynesia more and forbade any claim on New Hebrides islands became British.

Mythical Bora Bora from above

The annexation of Raiatea, Taha’a and Huahine

French taking ownership of these islands rests on any defensible and lawful justification since it ensues from a simple bilateral agreement between France and England to block the way to Germany. Yet, to prevent the latter from appropriating the archipelago, a physical presence on the territory of the Republic is needed. Never mind: Paris sends the army to establish the colonial status.

In Raiatea, an uphill battle should overcome the resistance of the natives.

           In Taha’a and Huahine, the case is much more complicated. Indeed, very heroic and probably a little unconscious, the chief Teraiupoo stops the French invasion. After many very murdered battles, France deports a part of the population of the two islands to Marquesas. You must know that the population of the archipelago amounted at that time to a few hundred individuals only.

The map of Mythical Bora  Bora
Bora Bora remained to annex....

Preparations for Queen Teriimaevarua II  

The tragedy which bloodied Tahaa and Huahine terrorizes the inhabitants of the island as well as the queen. The latter did not intend to let it go without a fight, following the example of the chief Teraiupoo.

So Teriimaevarua II decrees the mobilization of all available troops on Bora Bora and gathers her army on the square of Taamotu, today the village of Vaitape. Unfortunately, these brave soldiers are unable to just marching in!

As a last resort, the Queen decides to settle her troops on the heights of the valley of Faanui in the natural fortress of Pare.

Surrounded by precipices, this plateau nestled at the foot of Mount Otemanu. The place is accessible by a narrow ridge path only between Faanui and Anaau. For more safety, Teriimaevarua II set up stone walls to block the way and serve rifle posts.

These "fortifications" are still visible by whom is able to watch. There the Queen chose to wait for the French enemy.
  

French Navy lands to Bora Bora

While Queen Teriimaevarua II prepares her army to fight the French Navy, having off-loaded the troops to Raiatea, before sailing towards “the Pearl of the Pacific” (which doesn’t still bears this name at the time).

Strangely: a single whaler leaves off warship and gets ready to tee-up on Taamotu. On board the French soldiers of course. But surprise: at the bow of the boat is tied up a barrel of wine!

In fact, the military come as friends, a friendship that dated from Tapoa King II. Tapoa II and his wife, Pomare Vahine IV are Teriimaevarua II’s “faamu” parents (adoptive). But the reigning queen knows nothing of their friendship...

Surrounded by her army of braves she observed the landing from her natural fortress, while the population of Taamotu warmly welcomes the passengers of the rowboat.

The battle of Bora Bora

The barrel of wine is fast unloaded and, amid friendly hugs, islanders bring to the beach, breadfruits and bananas to match with wine, drumming and to'ere so that everyone dances.

We are in Polynesia, and here, welcome is not an empty word ... The binge (partying) starts and wins the whole village.

Quartered on the “Pare”, the soldiers of the Queen hear the "dum… dum ... dum ... ..." percussions. They just can imagine the party. Party and their Vahines dancing and drinking with these French pigs! It’s not bearable.

One by one, they give up their fight positions then down to the village ... Once income in Taamotu, it doesn't take them long to get earned by the general euphoria and mingled with the party.

Bereft by all, Queen Teriimaevarua II eventually joins the party. Greeted according to her rank by both Raromatai people and French soldiers, she shines on a throne of honor and the feast increases.

Thus ended the battle of Bora Bora.

Mount Otemanu, the highest peak of Bora Bora

Death on the battlefield

This battle, without doubt one of the finest in the history of mankind, made nevertheless a victim.

Someone of the French sailors is trying to climb a pole. Unfortunately! Totally drunk, he doesn’t reach his goal, let go and crashed onto the deck.

Death on the battlefield, this unknown sailor is the only death attributable to the Battle of Bora Bora.

Thanks to Fichaux a very old man from Bora Bora


An  article of Julien Gué
Translated from french by Vanaa Teriitehau

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