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Country of Tonga Flag

Capital: Nuku'alofa

Population: 110,940

Brief History of Tonga:

Tonga is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean. The main island is Tongatapu. It has been inhabited by Polynesian peoples since 500 BC. The Tongan kingdom was at its peak during the 1200s when it had influence as far as Samoa.

The first Europeans to discover Tonga was the Dutch in 1616. In 1643 Dutch navigator Abel Tasman visited the island of Tongatapu. Later Captain James Cook visited the islands and gave them the name ?Friendly Islands?.

Christianity began to spread throughout the islands in the 1800s. The leader Taufa'ahou became a Christian and also united the islands under one rule. He became Kin George Tupou I in 1845.

Country of Tonga Map

The Geography of Tonga

Total Size: 748 square km

Size Comparison: four times the size of Washington, DC

Geographical Coordinates: 20 00 S, 175 00 W

World Region or Continent: Oceania

General Terrain: most islands have limestone base formed from uplifted coral formation; others have limestone overlying volcanic base

Geographical Low Point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

Geographical High Point: unnamed location on Kao Island 1,033 m

Climate: tropical; modified by trade winds; warm season (December to May), cool season (May to December)

Major cities:

The People of Tonga

Type of Government: constitutional monarchy

Languages Spoken: Tongan, English

Independence: 4 June 1970 (from UK protectorate)

National Holiday: Emancipation Day, 4 June (1970)

Nationality: Tongan(s)

Religions: Christian (Free Wesleyan Church claims over 30,000 adherents)

National Symbol: red cross on white field; arms equal length

National Anthem or Song: Ko e fasi `o e tui `o e `Otu Tonga (Song of the King of the Tonga Islands)

Economy of Tonga

Major Industries: tourism, fishing

Agricultural Products: squash, coconuts, copra, bananas, vanilla beans, cocoa, coffee, ginger, black pepper; fish

Natural Resources: fish, fertile soil

Major Exports: squash, fish, vanilla beans, root crops

Major Imports: foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, chemicals

Currency: pa'anga (TOP)

National GDP: $763,000,000

** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.

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