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You're here � Home PageTweeTravel � TweeTravel - Tonga - Tonga Travel Guides and Tricks
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Author : admin
Article ID : 213
Audience : Default
Version 1.00
Published Date: 2012/8/20 17:44:31
Reads : 832


Tonga Travel Guides and Tricks



Open in new window Tonga, officially the Kingdom of Tonga, is a sovereign state and an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, comprising 176 islands scattered over 700,000 square kilometres (270,000 sq mi) of ocean in the South Pacific. Fifty-two of the islands are inhabited.

The Kingdom stretches over a distance of about 800 kilometres (500 mi) in a north-south line located at about a third of the distance from New Zealand to Hawaii.

Open in new window Tonga also became known as the Friendly Islands because of the friendly reception accorded to Captain James Cook on his first visit there in 1773. He happened to arrive at the time of the ?inasi festival, the yearly donation of the first fruits to the Tu?i Tonga, the islands' paramount chief, and received an invitation to the festivities. According to the writer William Mariner, in reality the chiefs had wanted to kill Cook during the gathering, but could not agree on a plan.

Tonga is also the only island nation in the region to have avoided formal colonisation. In 2010, Tonga took a decisive step towards becoming a fully functioning constitutional monarchy after legislative reforms paved the way for its first fully representative elections, which resulted in Noble Siale?ataongo Tu?ivakan? being elected as Tonga's first ever democratically elected Prime Minister.

Open in new window Over 70% of the 101,991 inhabitants of the Kingdom of Tonga live on its main island, Tongatapu. Although an increasing number of Tongans have moved into the only urban and commercial centre, Nuku?alofa, where European and indigenous cultural and living patterns have blended, village life and kinship ties remain influential throughout the country. Despite emigration, the Tonga grew in population from about 32,000 in the 1930s to more than 90,000 by 1976.

According to the government portal, Tongans, Polynesian by ethnicity with a very small mixture of Melanesian, represent more than 98% of the inhabitants. 1.5% are mixed Tongans and the rest are European (the majority are British), mixed European, and other Pacific Islanders. According to a New Zealand paper in 2001 there were approximately 3,000 or 4,000 Chinese in Tonga, thus comprising 3 or 4% of the total Tongan population. In 2006, Nuku?alofa riots mainly targeted Chinese-owned businesses, leading to the emigration of several hundred Chinese, so that only about 300 remain.

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