Gambier Islands, French Polynesia (with Map & Photos)

The Gambier Islands (fr. Îles Gambier) are a group of small islands in the southeast of French Polynesia in the southeastern part of the Tuamotu archipelago. Often the Gambier Islands are considered as a group of islands separate from the Tuamotu due to cultural and linguistic affinity with the Marquesas Islands, as well as geological structure (the islands in this group are of volcanic origin, while the Tuamotu is a group of atolls). Temoe Atoll is often referred to as the Gambier Islands due to its proximity.

Gambier Islands
Gambier Islands

The area is 31 km². Population - 1337 people (2007).


The Gambier archipelago consists of four large islands and 10 motu, united by a common lagoon:

Most of the islands of the Gambier archipelago are of volcanic origin and are part of a volcano crater that sunk in prehistoric times. A group of small islands are of coral origin (for example, Tauna). The highest point of the Gambier Islands is Mount Duff ( Mt. Duff ) on Mangareva Island (441 m).

The climate in the Gambier Islands is tropical. The coldest months of the year are July and August (21°C).


Flag of the Gambier Islands.

Presumably, the first Polynesians sailed to the Gambier Islands from the Marquesas around 1200 AD. e. The first European to discover the archipelago was the British captain John Wilson of the London Missionary Society. He sailed past the islands in 1797 on the ship "Duff". The archipelago was named by him in honor of Lord Gambier of the Admiralty, formally the patron of the expedition. From 1834 to 1871 Catholic missionaries landed on the islands. At the beginning of the 20th century, significant changes took place in the infrastructure of the Gambier Islands: roads, stone houses, and churches were built. The French protectorate extended to the islands in 1844.

Administrative division

The Gambier commune includes: 4 Actaeon Islands, 10 Gambier Islands and 3 Tuamotu Islands. The administrative center is the small town of Rikitea.

Gambier Islands Map