The Society Islands, considered "Paradise on Earth" by savvy travelers, were explored by Captains Cook and Bligh, but they were made truly famous by the paintings of the artist, Paul Gauguin, and by the words of author, James A. Michener.
Divided into the Windward Islands (Iles du Vent), and the Leeward Islands (Iles Sous le Vent) they were given their stylish name by Captain James Cook in 1769, when he named them after England's Royal Society- and Royalislands they certainly are.
Most of these rugged islands are volcanic in origin, with a few small coral atolls mixed in. Of these, the most recognizable names are the legendary islands of Bora Bora, Huahine, Moorea and Tahiti.
For additional info about the islands of French Polynesia, and their most interesting history, go here.
Facts and Figures
Official Name Society Islands (an island group within French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France, originally claimed in 1843)
Capital City Papeete (27,000), with an estimated (151,500) on the island of Tahiti