There are about fifty handwritten letters from the one that ruled in Tahiti for fifty years in the 19th century.
French Polynesia can say thank you to the confinement! Jean-Pascal Lafaille took advantage of the confinement in France in April to put away his papers. He found treasures. This Parisian is indeed the great-grandson of Charles-Lavaud, who was governor of French Polynesia between 1847 and 1850. Among other things, he found a small French Tahitian dictionary, souvenir photos of Tahiti dating from 1870 and 17 photos of Joinville Pomaré and his family taken during a stay in France in 1865. The biggest treasure is probably the 50 handwritten letters of Queen Pomare IV written between 1842 and 1870.
Fifty years of reign
Queen Pomaré, nicknamed the queen with blue eyes, has a very great importance in the history of Polynesia. Born in 1813 in Tahiti, she acceded to the throne at the age of 13. She reigned over Tahiti and Moorea for fifty years until her death in 1877. She is the only woman to have held this position, and it is also the longest reign in Tahiti’s history. She was opposed to France. This provoked, among other things, a real Franco-Tahitian war. The Queen finally gave in to French power. Until her death, she governed her territory under the French administration.
Jean-Pascal Lafaille is aware of the historical value of these documents. He decided to offer them to French Polynesia. These extraordinary documents will be integrated into the collection of the Museum of Tahiti and the Islands – Te Fare Manaha. They should be digitized during this month of November by the museum’s technicians. They will then be available for consultation by researchers and historians. They will perhaps reveal small secrets of the great history… or great secrets of the small history…
Photo > Palace of Queen Pomaré IV in Tahiti. Upper left is the portrait of Queen Pomare IV painted by Charles Giraud in 1851.