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Tahiti , Pacific Ocean


Tahiti is estimated to have been settled between AD 300 and 800 by Polynesians, although some estimates place the date earlier. The fertile soil combined with fishing provided food. Although the first European sighting of the islands was by a Spanish ship in 1606, Spain made no effort to trade with or colonise the island. Samuel Wallis, an English sea captain, sighted Tahiti on 18 June, 1767, and is considered the first European visitor. The relaxed and contented nature of the people and the characterisation of the island as a paradise impressed early Europeans, planting the seed for a romanticisation by the West that endures to this day.