OFFICIAL NAME: Pule’anga Fakatu’i ‘o Tonga
CAPITAL CITY: Nuku’alofa
POPULATION: 115,000 (2007)
AREA: 748 km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): tonga, English
RELIGION: Methodists 41%, Catholics 16%, Mormons 14%, others 29%
CURRENCY CODE: TOP
ENGLISH NAME: Tonga
POPULATION COMPOSITION: Tongans (Polynesians) 96%, mixed 3%, others 1%
GDP PER residents: 1671 $ (2007)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 71 years, women 74 years (2007)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.815
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 55
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .thaw
Tonga, (Polynesian ‘south, south wind’), formerly Friendly Islands ‘Friendship Islands’, Kingdom of the Pacific. The country consists of several archipelagos spread over 260,000 km 2 of sea. Farthest to the south is the main island of Tongatapu. 36 of the approximately 150 islands are inhabited. The climate is tropical and quite humid; both temperatures and annual precipitation increase from south to north. The northern islands are most often hit by tropical cyclones.
The people are Polynesians, and Tonga is in many ways a very traditional society, marked by inherited rights and customs and by the powerful king and his family. Various Christian churches are of great importance and Tonga is one of the communities where the day of rest is truly remembered. Traditional clothing and home-made handicrafts are also part of everyday life.
- Countryaah: Do you know how many people there are in Tonga? Check this site to see population pyramid and resident density about this country.
Agriculture and coastal fishing produce mainly for own consumption, but the focus is on the development of export crops such as vanilla and squash for Japan and the USA. The property conditions are very special, as the land is in principle the king’s property, and the right of cultivation is distributed to the country’s nobility and other families. The same principle is also used in many appointments to public office, and in the 1990’s there were beginning protests against the king and the autocratic traditions.
Tonga’s economy is characterized by aid from Commonwealth countries and Japan and by transfers from Tongans abroad. Tourism in Tonga is growing, to the Vava’u archipelago, whose idyllic anchorages are very popular with yacht tourists in the Pacific. Also the good opportunities to see humpback whales on the move are an attraction.
Tonga is made up of two almost parallel rows of islands, all of which have volcanic origins. The eastern archipelago consists of low coral islands whose volcanic core is eroded away or sunk below sea level. The western archipelago consists of higher islands whose volcanic core still rises above sea level. These islands are made up of younger volcanoes, and four of them are still active. The island chains lie along the boundary between two lithosphere plates. From the east, the Pacific plate is pushed under the Indo-Australian plate. The associated volcanism has formed the Tongary ridge with its many islands and seamounts, while east of it has developed a deep-sea tomb, the Tonga tomb, with depths down to 10,882 m.
The flag was officially confirmed in 1875, but dates back to 1862. It originally consisted of a red cross in white. In order to distinguish it from the Red Cross flag, it was put in a red tablecloth. According to the then king, the cross was chosen to show that the country is Christian. The red color should symbolize the blood of Christ. Red and white are also the Polynesian colors.
The language tonga, which is a Polynesian language and belongs to the Austronesian language family, is the official language alongside English. On the island of Niuafu, a Polynesian language is closely related to Samoan. English has around 2000 a dominant position in teaching and media.
As part of the spread of Polynesian cultures in the Pacific, people settled approximately 1300 BC in Tonga; they made the characteristic lapita pottery. The prehistoric society was strongly stratified; latest from 900-teKr. ruled Tu’i Tonga, a line of chiefs with unrestricted power in both religious and secular terms. I 1200-t. Tonga controlled many more remote islands, but internally there were from the 1400’s. recurring power struggles between different lines of chiefs. Dutch ships visited Tonga as early as 1616, but only after 1773, when James Cook called at the islands, which he named Friendly Islands., contact with Europeans became permanent. Methodist missionaries, established in 1826, played a crucial role in the abolition of the traditional religion, the establishment of the kingdom, and the development of modern society; with the support of the missionaries, a descendant of the old Tu’i Tonga line succeeded in overcoming rival chiefs and becoming sole ruler like King George Tupou I, who ruled 1845-93 (see also Tupou). Tonga’s constitution is from 1875, and the country’s independence was recognized by Germany, Great Britain and the United States in respectively. 1876, 1879 and 1888; yet in 1900 Tonga became a British protectorate. In 1970, Tonga became an independent state within the Commonwealth. Modern society rests on inherited traditions, but has also incorporated many elements from the West. The previous constitution gave the king and the chiefs considerable influence, e.g., the king appointed certain ministers. The regime has been criticized for being flawed democratically, and in 2006 there was widespread unrest in Nuku’alofa. The pressure on limited resources is great, and many Tongans today live in New Zealand, the United States and Australia.
In 2010, King Tupou V decided that democracy should be introduced in the country. November was so. held elections to a popularly elected parliament; the electorate was to elect 17 of the 26 members of parliament, the remaining 9 were reserved for the nobles.