Eroding The Native Space: The Perceptual Layers Of Papeete Harbor

1835 words - 8 pages

As the flag of Queen Pomare IV made its slow descent towards the bottom of the pole in 1843, overcast started to envelope the rule of the Kingdom of Tahiti, as it became a French protectorate. This action initiated a bloody war (1844-1847) that claimed sizeable amounts of Tahitian and French troops and almost started an additional war between France and Britain in the Pacific due to British interests in the Polynesian archipelago. At the end of the bloodshed, Tahitian monarchy was allowed to remain independent in the midst of French administration from 1847 to 1879.
In 1800, Papeete was only a small establishment on the north east coast of the Island of Tahiti. Already "a very lively ...view middle of the document...

" As the relative positioning of space and time has become realigned, space has emerged as more central than before. This may be in part because; "the anxiety of our era has to do fundamentally with space, no doubt a great deal more than with time3.
The historical perspective of French colonial influence in Tahiti matched with the understanding of space through Foucault’s eyes allows for two specific arguments represented by nautical chart quadrant of Papeete fine-tuned by the United States Department of Defense . Even though the nautical chart was created in terms of U.S. interests, it shows the foundation of modern Papeete structured towards its specific purpose as a strategic settlement for France in order to demonstrate strong physical and mental presence in the immediate area, on the island of Tahiti, and the South Pacific. In addition, from the perspective of the native population, the nautical chart also depicts the decreasing influence of native Tahitians and their way of life as the French developed Papeete into a major city in the French Polynesia.

At an initial glance, the nautical chart of Papeete Harbor was developed through the surveying process of the French in 1869, which was corrected in 1907 by the U.S. Defense Mapping Agency. The initial intention of the survey by the French was to lay the foundation for the development of a key port city in the pacific. At first glance, the nautical chart is deemed trustworthy due to the meticulous importance of surveying to the colonial prowess of France and the ensuing moderations by the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office to ensure that the chart matches the land terrain and marine environment for potential U.S. foreign interests. The intended users of the map are mariners and armed forces personnel associated with U.S. strategic interests in the South Pacific.
From the initial hydrographic surveying by the French to the corrections by U.S. defense personnel, updating the nautical chart in 1907 and the current representation in 1920 shows that an emphasis of care was taken in order to insure the chart’s correctness to the detail over time. This observation is essential because waterways depicted by a chart may change, and artificial assistance to navigation may be altered at short notice. With constant changes over the years, old or uncorrected charts should never be used for navigation.
Information relevant to seafarers was the focal point of the nautical chart’s usefulness. On the far right side of the chart, the print of the chart functions as a legend that relevant information for the harbor was compiled starting with the latitude and longitude degrees for the harbor: 17o31’ 39’’ S/149o 34’ 16’’W. The chart presented a small note on the tide schedule: “High water every day between Noon and 2 P.M.” and “Highest rise of tide 1 ¾ feet” in order to alert the user of the period of high tide occurs. On the water that the harbor is near, there are numbers present throughout the water...

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