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Tonga


Full nameKingdom of Tonga
Capital CityNuku'alofa
LanguageTonga and English
CurrencyPa'anga.
ReligionProtestant, Catholic and Mormon.
National Anthem"Koe Fasi Oe Tu'i Oe Otu Tonga".
NewspaperMatangi Tongo and Togonews.
Places to VisitEastern Tongatapu, Nuku'alofa, Mapu'a 'a Vaca Blowholes, Mu'a and Tongan National Centre.

TransportAirways : Fua'amotu International Airport. Waterways : by yacht; Ports Nuku'alofa, Neiafu, Pangai, Lifuka, Felehau and Futu
Shoppinglocally made handcrafts, traditional island clothing like 'Mumus' and 'Pulisami' and coral and tortoise-shell jewelry.

Though Tonga is an independent Kingdom having a constitutional monarchy, its population mainly comprises of the people who populate the Fiji Islands.

Tonga Map
They are called the Lapita and are of Polynesian origin. It is held that the first settlers arrived at Tonga from Fiji in around 400 B.C. when Captain Cook Landed on the islands, he found the people so amiable and forthcoming that he christened the islands as 'Friendly Islands'. This name, however, is now used only as an epithet.

Physical Map of Tonga

the Kingdom of Tonga is a group of some 169 islands. However, of these, only 36 are habitable. The islands are grouped under three heads the Vava' u, the Ha'apai and the Tongatapu. The islands have two types of origins; they are either volcanic in origin and have risen from the ocean beds or are coral formations in limestone overlying a volcanic bed. The Tonga Islands also has volcanoes, to the west of the nation, that continue to be active even to this day. In fact, because of the continuing volcanic activity, islands are still in the process of sprouting in the archipelago. The most recent of them is the Ha'apai, which was born in the 1990s after an eruption.

Tonga Location Map
Location of Tonga

The archipelago called the Kingdom of Tonga is located in the southern hemisphere, in the southern region of the Pacific Ocean. The Fiji Islands lie to the east of Tonga, while the Samoa islands lie to its north. The closest political mainland to Tonga is Australia.


Climate of Tonga

given that the Tonga Islands are located amidst expanses of the southern region of the Pacific Ocean, climatic variations are never drastic. As a result, a pleasantly tropical climate prevails year round. Winters, if one can call them so, are mild and dry and fall between the months of May and October. Summers, on the other hand, are warm and humid and are experienced between the months of November and April.

Flora and Fauna of Tonga

Tonga sports a bio diversity that is typical of the tropical regions. The highlight of the island, however, is its plant life - be it trees or flowers. The host of trees and flowers that make up the flora of Tonga are coconut palms, banana groves, pandanus palms, hibiscus, frangipani and other tropical trees and bushes. As Tonga has dense forest space and engulfed by stretches of water with thriving marine life and coral reefs, the avian fauna that populates the islands are truly extraordinary. Bird life in Tongs includes varieties ranging from the sea-faring kind to land and forest breeds. Some of the names that make up the list of avian fauna in Tonga are frigate birds, swiftlets, Pacific golden plover, pacific swallows, Pacific black duck and blue crowned lorikeets. One unique species found in the islands which makes Tonga particularly famous are the flying foxes.


People of Tonga

the original people of Tonga are Polynesians. They primarily belong to the Lapita race that relocated from the Fiji Islands. However, there is also a mingling of Melanesians. Theses people make up the majority of the population. The remaining 2% of the population or so comprises of Europeans, Australians, Chinese and mix-bloods and also a few others.

Arts, Culture and Music of Tonga

  • Art : traditional art in Tonga is made up of hereditary craft skills and is practiced as much by men as women. Those that form the inventory are painting, matting, textile arts, woodcarving, tattooing, canoe-building, coral and tortoise-shell jewelry.
  • Culture : the culture of Tonga is basically Polynesian. People on the islands live an idyllic and primitive life which is deep rooted in culture and tradition. However, European advent has had a significant impact on the Tongan lifestyle, causing the incorporation of new habits. So now they have two modes of behavior - one is the traditional way or the "anga fakatonga", the other is the adopted western style or the "anga fakapãlangi".
  • Music : Tongan music came to the fore front only after the arrival of the Europeans on the islands. Most of the musical tradition in Tonga is percussion based. Be it dances or songs, the drum is an integral part of music in Tonga. The other traditional instruments used in Tonga, besides the drum, are the "Nose Flute" and a slit-gong called "Lali".

The traditional dances in Tonga include 'otuhaka, ula and me'etu'upaki. Royal music is a different genre in itself which is preserved for specific occasions and has different types of music to commemorate different occasions be it weddings or funerals or even apologies.

Flag of Tonga

the Tongan flag is held to be the oldest adopted flag among the island nations in the southern region of the Pacific Ocean. The flag is rectangular in shape and is completely dominated by two colors - red and white. Red forms the background color of the flag. On the left top corner of the flag is superimposed a square white patch in which is an equal armed cross in red. While the color red symbolizes Christ's blood, white stands for purity and the red cross is representative of the advent of Christianity to the island.


Tonga Flag
Flag of Tonga

Tonga's chief source of income is derived from the remitment received from Tonga's expatriate community. The other fact about the economy in Tonga is that it is largely concentrated in the hands of the nobles and the royalty. The contribution made from the manufacturing front is solely dependent on handicrafts and cottage industries. Revenues generated from agriculture are obtained from crops such as vanilla beans, coconuts and bananas. A direct result of the agricultural industry is the industries that process the coconuts into copra and preserving them by dehydrating them. Livestock and horse breeding are also small scale revenue bringers. The fishing industry, timber produces and the tourism industry are the only other spheres that make a significant contribution to the economy in Tonga.

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