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The Tuamotu Archipelago or the Tuamotu Islands (French: Îles Tuamotu, officially Archipel des Tuamotu) are a French Polynesian chain of just under 80 islands and atolls in the southern Pacific Ocean. They constitute the largest chain of atolls in the world, extending (from northwest to southeast) over an area roughly the size of Western Europe. Their combined land area is 850 square kilometres (328 square miles). This archipelago's major islands are Anaa, Fakarava, Hao and Makemo. The Tuamotus have approximately 16,000 inhabitants. The islands were initially settled by Polynesians, and modern Tuamotuans have inherited from them a shared culture and the Tuamotuan language. The Tuamotus are a French overseas collectivity. The people of Tahiti originally called the islands the Paumotus, an exonym that means 'the subservient islands' – and other outsiders tended to use this name as well, until a delegation from the islands convinced the French authorities to change their name to Tuamotus, which means the 'distant islands'.

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