Tahiti (Tahee'tee; formerly spelt Otaheite), an island giving name to a small archipelago, also called Society Islands, in the mid Pacific, more than 2000 miles NE. of New Zealand and some 3400 SSW. of San Francisco. The islands consist of Tahiti (which embraces 455 sq. m. out of a total of 637 for the entire archipelago), Raiatea, Moorea or Eimeo (q.v.), and others. The group is divided into the Windward and the Leeward clusters, and stretches for about 200 miles NW. and SE. They are composed of volcanic rocks, are mountainous (Orohena on Tahiti is 7340 feet high), and well wooded, with belts of low fertile soil along the shores, and girt by coral-reefs. The scenery is magnificent, the chief island being often called ' the Garden of the Pacific.' The climate is very moist and hot (70° to 84° F.), but equable and healthy. Cocoa-nuts, oranges, vanilla, fruit, cotton, and sugar are grown, and these and mother-of-pearl, cocoa-nut fibre, and trepang are exported. The imports include textiles, flour, wine, live-stock, sugar, coffee, coal, timber, and soap. The people cultivate the bread-fruit, taro, yam, sweet potato, etc. The most important harbour is Papeete, the capital, in the NE. of Tahiti, which has a R. C. cathedral, an arsenal, and a pop. of 3224. The population in 1905 of all the islands was 16,300 (Tahiti, 10,750; French, 400). The people, a handsome race of the Polynesian stock, are light-hearted and polite, but very immoral and untrustworthy. The group was discovered by the Spanish navigator De Quiros, but first accurately described by Cook (1769-77), who named them in honour of the Royal Society of London; the pop. then numbered nearly 250,000. The London Missionary Society commenced work here in 1797; but in 1812 they had to flee for a while to Australia. In 1842 France forced a protectorate over the eastern cluster; the treaty of 1847 with Great Britain, recognising the independence of the western cluster, was abrogated in 1888, and the whole archipelago practically became a French possession. See works by Ellis (1829), Williams (1839), Pritchard (1866), and Dora Hort (1891).