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Commune (pop., 2002: commune, 26,181; urban agglom., 124,864), port, and capital of French Polynesia. It is located on the northwestern coast of Tahiti. A tropical city with tall palms and exotic flowers, it is one of the largest urban and commercial centres in the South Pacific Ocean. By 1829 its excellent harbour made it a place of trade and a port of call for whalers. In 1880 it was annexed by the French, and it became a commune in 1890. It is a major tourist base and a centre for Pacific Rim trade.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Papeete, visit Britannica.com.