Tonga


Tonga
/tong"geuh/, n.
a Polynesian kingdom consisting of three groups of islands in the S Pacific, NE of New Zealand: a former British protectorate. 100,105; ab. 270 sq. mi. (700 sq. km). Cap.: Nukualofa. Also called Tonga Islands, Friendly Islands.
/tong"geuh/, n.
Tsonga.

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Tonga

Introduction Tonga
Background: The archipelago of "The Friendly Islands" was united into a Polynesian kingdom in 1845. It became a constitutional monarchy in 1875 and a British protectorate in 1900. Tonga acquired its independence in 1970 and became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. It remains the only monarchy in the Pacific. Geography Tonga -
Location: Oceania, archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand
Geographic coordinates: 20 00 S, 175 00 W
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 748 sq km water: 30 sq km land: 718 sq km
Area - comparative: four times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 419 km
Maritime claims: continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation territorial sea: 12 NM exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
Climate: tropical; modified by trade winds; warm season (December to May), cool season (May to December)
Terrain: most islands have limestone base formed from uplifted coral formation; others have limestone overlying volcanic base
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m highest point: unnamed location on Kao Island 1,033 m
Natural resources: fish, fertile soil
Land use: arable land: 23.61% permanent crops: 43.06% other: 33.33% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: NA sq km
Natural hazards: cyclones (October to April); earthquakes and volcanic activity on Fonuafo'ou Environment - current issues: deforestation results as more and more land is being cleared for agriculture and settlement; some damage to coral reefs from starfish and indiscriminate coral and shell collectors; overhunting threatens native sea turtle populations Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate
agreements: Change, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: archipelago of 169 islands (36 inhabited) People Tonga
Population: 106,137 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 39.5% (male 21,374; female 20,555) 15-64 years: 56.4% (male 29,519; female 30,322) 65 years and over: 4.1% (male 1,945; female 2,422) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.85% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 24.08 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 5.63 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/ female total population: 0.99 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 13.72 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 68.56 years female: 71.11 years (2002 est.) male: 66.13 years
Total fertility rate: 3 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA% HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ NA
AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Tongan(s) adjective: Tongan
Ethnic groups: Polynesian, Europeans about 300
Religions: Christian (Free Wesleyan Church claims over 30,000 adherents)
Languages: Tongan, English
Literacy: definition: can read and write Tongan and/or English total population: 98.5% male: 98.4% female: 98.7% (1996 est.) Government Tonga
Country name: conventional long form: Kingdom of Tonga conventional short form: Tonga former: Friendly Islands
Government type: hereditary constitutional monarchy
Capital: Nuku'alofa Administrative divisions: 3 island groups; Ha'apai, Tongatapu, Vava'u
Independence: 4 June 1970 (from UK protectorate)
National holiday: Independence Day, 4 June (1970)
Constitution: 4 November 1875, revised 1 January 1967
Legal system: based on English law
Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: King Taufa'ahau TUPOU IV (since 16 December 1965) note: there is also a Privy Council that consists of the monarch, the Cabinet, and two governors elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed for life by the monarch cabinet: Cabinet, appointed by the monarch, consists of 12 members head of government: Prime Minister Prince Lavaka ata ULUKALALA (since NA February 2000) and Deputy Prime Minister Tevita TOPOU (since NA January 2001)
Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fale Alea (30 seats - 12 reserved for cabinet ministers sitting ex officio, nine for nobles selected by the country's 33 nobles, and nine elected by popular vote; members serve three-year terms) elections: last held 7 March 2002 (next to be held NA 2005) election results: percent of vote - pro-democratic 70%; seats - pro- democratic 7, traditionalist 2
Judicial branch: Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the monarch); Court of Appeal (consists of the Privy Council with the addition of the chief justice of the Supreme Court) Political parties and leaders: there are no political parties Political pressure groups and Tonga Human Rights and Democracy
leaders: Movement or THRDM [Akilisi POHIVA, president] International organization ACP, AsDB, C, ESCAP, FAO, G-77,
participation: IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (observer) Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Sione KITE chancery: 250 East 51st Street, New York, NY 10022 telephone: [1] (917) 369-1136 consulate(s) general: San Francisco FAX: [1] (917) 369-1024 Diplomatic representation from the the US does not have an embassy in
US: Tonga; the ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tonga
Flag description: red with a bold red cross on a white rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner Economy Tonga -
Economy - overview: Tonga has a small, open economy with a narrow export base in agricultural goods. Squash, coconuts, bananas, and vanilla beans are the main crops, and agricultural exports make up two-thirds of total exports. The country must import a high proportion of its food, mainly from New Zealand. Tourism is the second largest source of hard currency earnings following remittances. The country remains dependent on external aid and remittances from Tongan communities overseas to offset its trade deficit. The government is emphasizing the development of the private sector, especially the encouragement of investment, and is committing increased funds for health and education. Tonga has a reasonable basic infrastructure and well- developed social services.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $225 million (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 5.3% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $2,200 (2000 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 30% industry: 10% services: 60% (2001 est.) Population below poverty line: NA% Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
percentage share: highest 10%: NA% Inflation rate (consumer prices): 9.4% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 33,908 (1996) Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 65% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate: 13.3% (1996 est.)
Budget: revenues: $39.9 million expenditures: $52.4 million, including capital expenditures of $1.9 million (FY99/00 est.)
Industries: tourism, fishing Industrial production growth rate: 8.6% (FY98/99) Electricity - production: 30 million kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 27.9 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: squash, coconuts, copra, bananas, vanilla beans, cocoa, coffee, ginger, black pepper; fish
Exports: $9.3 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities: squash, fish, vanilla beans, root crops
Exports - partners: Japan 50.4%, US 31.6%, NZ 4.1%, Australia 2.1%, Fiji 1.7% (2000 est.)
Imports: $70 million (c.i.f., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, chemicals
Imports - partners: New Zealand 29.8%, Japan 18.6%, Australia 12.7%, US 12.7%, Fiji 12.2% (2000 est.)
Debt - external: $57.5 million (June 2001) Economic aid - recipient: Australia $5.5 million, New Zealand $2.3 million (FY01/02)
Currency: pa'anga (TOP)
Currency code: TOP
Exchange rates: pa'anga per US dollar - 2.1920 (January 2002), 2.1236 (2001), 1.7585 (2000), 1.5991 (1999), 1.4920 (1998), 1.2635 (1997)
Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June Communications Tonga Telephones - main lines in use: 8,000 (1996) Telephones - mobile cellular: 302 (1996)
Telephone system: general assessment: NA domestic: NA international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (1996) Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 1 (2001)
Radios: 61,000 (1997) Television broadcast stations: 2 (2001)
Televisions: 2,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .to Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 2 (2000)
Internet users: 1,000 (2000) Transportation Tonga
Railways: 0 km
Highways: total: 680 km paved: 184 km unpaved: 496 km (1996)
Waterways: none
Ports and harbors: Neiafu, Nuku'alofa, Pangai
Merchant marine: total: 80 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 292,139 GRT/421,221 DWT ships by type: bulk 10, cargo 54, liquefied gas 4, petroleum tanker 8, roll on/roll off 4 note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Albania 1, Australia 4, Austria 1, Bolivia 1, Cyprus 1, Djibouti 1, Egypt 2, Greece 4, Lebanon 2, Liberia 2, Marshall Islands 2, Morocco 1, Norway 1, Panama 1, Romania 3, Russia 1, Sao Tome and Principe 1, Saudi Arabia 2, Singapore 1, Sweden 1, Switzerland 3, Syria 5, Ukraine 1, United Arab Emirates 16, United States 4 (2002 est.)
Airports: 6 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 2 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 4 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 914 to 1,523 m: 1 under 914 m: 2 (2001) Military Tonga
Military branches: Tonga Defense Services (made up of three operational command components and two support elements, including the Royal Marines, Royal Guards, Maritime Force, a support/logistics group, and a training group), Police; note - a new air wing that will be subordinate to the Ministry of Defense is being developed Military expenditures - dollar $NA
figure: Military expenditures - percent of NA%
GDP: Transnational Issues Tonga Disputes - international: none

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officially Kingdom of Tonga

Island country, South Pacific Ocean.

Area: 289.5 sq mi (749.9 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 101,000. Capital: Nuku'alofa. The people are of Polynesian ancestry. Languages: Tongan, English (both official). Religions: Free Wesleyanism, Roman Catholicism. Currency: pa'anga. Tonga comprises an archipelago of about 169 islands that extends north to south in two parallel chains for about 500 mi (800 km). The eastern islands are low and formed of coral limestone; those in the west are mountainous and of volcanic origin, and four of the western islands have active volcanoes. The country has a developing free-market economy based mainly on agriculture. Chief products include fish, coconuts, sweet potatoes, and bananas. Tourism also is important. Tonga is a constitutional monarchy with one legislative house; the head of state and government is the king, assisted by the privy council. Tonga was inhabited at least 3,000 years ago by people of the Lapita culture. The Tongans developed a stratified social system headed by a paramount ruler whose dominion by the 13th century extended as far as the Hawaiian Islands. The Dutch visited the islands in the 17th century, but effective contact dates from 1773, when Capt. James Cook arrived and named the archipelago the Friendly Islands. The modern kingdom was established during the reign (1845–93) of King George Tupou I. It became a British protectorate in 1900. This was dissolved in 1970 when Tonga, the only ancient kingdom surviving from the pre-European period in Polynesia, achieved complete independence within the Commonwealth. In 2001 Tonga was at the centre of a financial scandal when it became known that an American investor who had been entrusted to invest a $20 million trust fund belonging to the government had lost that money.

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▪ 2009

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(2008 est.): 103,000
Capital:
Nuku'alofa
Chief of state:
King Siaosi (George) Tupou V
Head of government:
Prime Minister of Privy Council Feleti Sevele

      The rebuilding of Tonga's capital, Nuku'alofa, destroyed in November 2006 during antigovernment riots, continued in early 2008 with funds and assistance from Tonga's aid partners. In the federal election on April 24—the last ballot to be held before reforms were to be instituted to the political system in advance of the 2010 elections—pro- democracy candidates won all nine of the people's seats in the Legislative Assembly. The appearance of a return to normalcy belied continuing strains between the pro-democracy movement and the royal family, whose appointees dominated the Assembly. Tensions were fueled by ongoing investigations into the activities of pro-democracy legislators and their supporters (during the riots) and their pending sedition trials.

      Political tensions waned ahead of the August 1 coronation of King Siaosi (George) Tupou V, who had succeeded to the throne on his father's death in 2006. Members of the royal families of the U.K., Denmark, Monaco, Japan, and Thailand visited Tonga for the $3 million event, which featured a military parade, formal balls, a fireworks display, an international rugby match, a series of feasts, and a sacred kava festival. Tensions ebbed during the coronation when the king pledged to surrender many of his royal powers, to accept a reduced role in the state, and to divest himself of business interests that he had acquired when state trading operations were privatized and that had been a source of contention for some years.

Cluny Macpherson

▪ 2008

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(2007 est.): 101,000
Capital:
Nuku'alofa
Head of state and government:
King Siaosi (George) Tupou V, assisted by Prime Minister of Privy Council Feleti Sevele

      In 2007 Tonga still suffered from the aftermath of the November 2006 rioting that had caused some $200 million in damages and destroyed about 80% of the capital's central business district. By December 2006 Tongan police, bolstered by officers from New Zealand and Australia, had charged some 790 people for riot-related offenses. At the closing of the parliament that same month, King Siaosi (George) Tupou V made conciliatory remarks about the need for dialogue with the pro-democracy movement and his belief that differences with them could be resolved. When he later undertook to sell his considerable business interests, another source of popular discontent, progress looked certain.

      The parliament reconvened in May 2007, but little progress was made on political reform, and popular discontent was rising. A report released in May found that more than 40% of those facing charges had been subjected to violence by Defence Force and Police personnel. Although international aid donors, including Australia and New Zealand, contributed to the reconstruction in Nuku'alofa, civil servants were told by the government that anticipated salary increases could not be afforded. Meanwhile, five popular Tongan legislators who had supported the pro- democracy movement faced charges of sedition; a pro-democracy television station and newspaper had been banned, and the manager and editor, respectively, faced sedition charges; and late in 2007, when the government indicated that parliamentary reform would not occur before the next election, threats of civil disorder were renewed.

Cluny Macpherson

▪ 2007

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(2006 est.): 102,600
Capital:
Nuku'alofa
Head of state and government:
Kings Taufa'ahau Tupou IV and, from September 11, Siaosi (George) Tupou V, assisted by Prime Ministers of Privy Council Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata and, from February 11 (acting to March 30), Feleti Sevele

      The Kingdom of Tonga saw unprecedented change in 2006. There were demonstrations by Tongans (in New Zealand and at home) over falling standards of living for commoners, the royal family's ownership of commercial enterprises, and the slow progress toward a more democratic form of government.

 The royal family early in the year made some symbolically important appointments. In February Prime Minister Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata was “invited” to stand down and was replaced by Feleti Sevele, an economist and commoner businessman. In May another commoner, Viliami Tangi, was appointed deputy prime minister. Then in September King Taufa'ahau Tupou lV (Tupou IV ) died in New Zealand after a prolonged illness. (See Obituaries.) His son Crown Prince Tupouto'a was sworn in as King Siaosi (George) Tupou V on September 11. The new king indicated that he would dispose of his business enterprises.

      The National Committee for Political Reform was due to report in 2006. Prince Tu'ipelehake, King Tupou IV's nephew and a supporter of constitutional reform, was heading the commission, but in July he and his wife were killed in a traffic accident in California, where they were canvassing expatriate Tongans for their opinions on the democratization of government. Economist Sitiveni Halapua, the head of the Pacific Islands Development Program at the East-West Center in Hawaii, was appointed the new head. The commission's recommendations were presented in November. When the parliament failed to implement them, a large crowd looted and burned cars, shops, and offices. Rioters razed 80% of the capital's central business district, and at least seven people died in a burning building. A shaky peace was restored only after the government agreed to move on recommendations for democratic reform.

Cluny Macpherson

▪ 2006

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(2005 est.): 98,600
Capital:
Nuku'alofa
Head of state and government:
King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, assisted by Prime Minister of Privy Council Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata

      For several weeks in mid-2005, Tongan civil servants went on strike for higher wages. Their action was prompted by wages that had fallen behind inflation and by the dramatic increase to T$100,000 (T$1 = about U.S.$0.51) of government ministers' salaries compared with the income of most civil servants (T$2,000–T$5,000). There was also discontent over the transfer of privatized government activities to members of King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV's family. In unprecedented demonstrations 10,000 people marched on the king's palace, government vehicles were firebombed, and a royal residence was destroyed in a suspected arson. In Auckland, N.Z., where the ailing 87-year-old king kept a home, Tongan immigrants staged protests. The Tongan government finally agreed to most of the strikers' demands, conceding wage increases of 60–80%. More significant for the longer term, however, was an agreement to establish a royal commission on democratic reform, though this was unlikely to bring significant change during the lifetime of the current monarch.

      A review of the Tongan economy by the World Bank and the government found that more than 20% of the communities surveyed were living in poverty. The king called for T$1 billion in investment to revitalize the economy.

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 2005

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(2004 est.): 98,400
Capital:
Nuku'alofa
Head of state and government:
King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, assisted by Prime Minister of Privy Council Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata

      The year 2004 was marked by a number of challenges to the Tongan government, which, like the legislature, was dominated by royal appointees and nobles. Pro-democracy movements and the press promoted reforms of government structure and changes in policy, notably the restrictive media legislation passed by the government in 2003 and challenged successfully in court. After the Supreme Court struck down the law in October, newspapers—those published locally or imported—gained much greater freedom to comment on political affairs without fear of closure.

      The government-owned Royal Tongan Airlines collapsed after its sole aircraft used for international flights was repossessed in April and it lacked the funds to repair its sole domestic aircraft in May. The airline was reported to have accumulated debts of $20 million. In its wake two small airlines emerged until the Ministry of Civil Aviation awarded a monopoly license to the company owned by King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV's eldest son, Crown Prince Tupoutoa. The airline used two leased World War II-vintage DC3 aircraft. The three ministers who opposed the decision were dismissed from office.

      The economy suffered when tourism declined in the wake of the collapse of Royal Tongan Airlines. With a narrow export base, high imports, and pressure on the currency because of high imported inflation, domestic inflation was running at 12% for the year.

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 2004

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(2003 est.): 102,000
Capital:
Nuku'alofa
Head of state and government:
King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, assisted by Prime Minister of Privy Council Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata

      In 2003 in Tonga focus was on freedom of speech and the government's attempts to muzzle its critics and control the media. Several unsuccessful attempts were made to ban Taimi 'o Tonga (“Times of Tonga”), which was published in New Zealand but was distributed in Tonga. The Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional related law changes made by King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV in Privy Council. The government's response was to legislate general media controls in July and in October to amend Clause 7 of the constitution, which guaranteed freedom of speech. Legislation was passed to regulate newspapers and, potentially, control their content. The constitutional change was opposed by the representatives elected by the people, who formed a minority of the legislature. Unusually, they were joined by three of the nine nobles' representatives (the balance of the legislature comprised ministers who had been appointed for life by the king). There were large antigovernment demonstrations and complaints that members of the Police Special Branch were attending political meetings.

      In October proposed changes that would reduce income tax for low-wage workers and reduce other taxes and duties in favour of a broad-based consumption tax were introduced to the legislature. The economy remained heavily dependent on remittances from Tongans living abroad. Tourism grew by 14% in 2002 over 2001; tourism interests, in an effort to boost the number of visitors, strongly advocated an official declaration designating Tonga's waters a whale sanctuary.

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 2003

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(2002 est.): 101,000
Capital:
Nuku'alofa
Head of state and government:
King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, assisted by Prime Minister of Privy Council Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata

      Parliamentary elections in March 2002 attracted 52 candidates for the nine seats available to commoners; seven of the nine seats were won by the Tonga Human Rights and Democracy Movement (THRDM), and the other two went to independents. The balance of the 30-member Legislative Assembly comprised 9 members elected by and from the group of 30 nobles and 12 ministers nominated by the king. Later in the year, the THRDM unsuccessfully proposed a constitutional change that would have removed the king's legislative and executive powers, established a bicameral legislature, and shifted the balance of power to elected members. In June, American J.D. Bogdonoff, onetime financial adviser and court jester to King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, was sued in a U.S. district court for having defrauded the Tonga Trust Fund of $25 million.

      Tonga's ship registry caused international embarrassment and was closed when Israeli forces boarded a Tongan-registered vessel carrying 50 tons of weapons, allegedly earmarked for a Palestinian organization. Later in the year, a group of Pakistanis identified as having links to al-Qaeda were arrested in Italy on terrorism charges after they landed in Sicily from a Tongan-flagged vessel. Tonga was represented by Deputy Prime Minister James Cocker at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, S.Af. In September, Prime Minister Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata addressed the UN General Assembly, emphasizing the environmental challenges to small less-developed Pacific Island states. On Jan. 1, 2002, the Vava'u islands in the north of Tonga were struck by Cyclone Waka, which caused over $50 million in damages but no loss of life.

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 2002

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(2001 est.): 101,200
Capital:
Nuku'alofa
Head of state and government:
King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, assisted by Prime Minister of Privy Council Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata

      A major political and financial scandal brought Tonga to international attention in 2001. More than $20 million from Tonga's trust fund was lost following its investment in a Nevada-based “viatical” scam that involved, in effect, gambling on the death dates of 16 terminally ill patients in the U.S. The trust invested in the scheme on the advice of American speculator Jesse Bugdonoff, who had also persuaded Tonga's king to appoint him court jester. The lost funds were part of $30.7 million raised more than a decade earlier from the sale of passports and citizenship to foreign nationals—mostly Hong Kong Chinese but also former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos and his family. The trustees responsible for the investment included then prime minister Baron Vaea, Deputy Prime Minister Tevita Tupou, and Minister of Education Tutoatasi Fakafanua. The latter two resigned in September at the request of the regent, Princess Pilolevu, who was acting for King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV. He was in Auckland, N.Z., for medical tests; the government denied news stories that the 82-year-old king was near death. Meanwhile, investigations into the investment scheme continued.

      Air transport within Tonga and to major international links in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji was disrupted by the grounding in March for safety reasons of Royal Tongan Airlines. In July consumer protection legislation was enacted. On New Year's Eve, Tonga, and the Vava'u group especially, were struck by Cyclone Waka, which caused no loss of life but damaged buildings and destroyed crops leading to an international relief effort.

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 2001

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(2000 est.): 98,200
Capital:
Nuku'alofa
Head of state and government:
King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, assisted by Prime Ministers of Privy Council Baron Vaea and, from January 3, Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata

      In January 2000 King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV appointed as prime minister his youngest son, 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata, rather than his oldest son, Crown Prince Tupouto'a. The latter was known to favour constitutional change, including a move away from making life appointments to cabinet and other senior political positions. The new prime minister tackled outstanding issues concerning immigration and forwarded a critical auditor general's report to the Legislative Assembly without amendment.

      Tonga continued to face a severe financial challenge, with the former prime minister, Baron Vaea, acknowledging that the country's economic situation was grave and expressing concern that this could lead to increased emigration. For 2000–01 the government proposed a total budget of $75 million. In a new departure, Tonga allowed foreign fishing vessels to operate within its Exclusive Economic Zone. It also provided encouragement for local fishing ventures by removing all duties from diesel fuel and related petroleum products. During the year tourism, which was already showing growth, was further boosted by the effects of political instability in Fiji.

      A survey of the Tonga Trench was conducted by Australian and French scientists in 2000. The scientists found 850 marine species, one-third of them not previously recorded.

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 2000

Area:
750 sq km (290 sq mi)
Population
(1999 est.): 98,200
Capital:
Nuku'alofa
Head of state and government:
King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, assisted by Prime Minister of Privy Council Baron Vaea

      In Tonga's March 1999 general election, the Human Rights Democracy Movement (HRDM) won five of the nine seats allocated to commoners in the 30-seat Legislative Assembly. Nine deputies were elected by the 33 nobles, and Cabinet ministers were nominated by the king. The HRDM was the main political opposition to a government firmly under the control of the king.

      The budget for 1999–2000 signaled changes in indirect taxes and provided for expenditure of T$73,400,000 (T$1 = about U.S.$0.65), an increase of 12.7% over 1998–99. Some 13% of expenditure was to be covered by foreign aid. Although tourism earnings in 1998 were T$12,300,000 in 1998, compared with T$9,820,000 in the previous year, reflecting a growth in visitor arrivals of 3.6%, other parts of the economy, especially agriculture, did not perform well.

      In June the government announced the closure of Government Store Services, which had been responsible for government procurement. The same month, there was controversy within and beyond Tonga over remarks by the crown prince that Tonga was overly conservative and that the Christian churches exercised too much influence. Tonga was admitted to the United Nations as its 188th member in September.

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 1999

      Area: 750 sq km (290 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 97,900

      Capital: Nuku'alofa

      Head of state and government: King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, assisted by Prime Minister of Privy Council Baron Vaea

      The midyear celebrations for the 80th birthday of King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV provided a sense of national unity in an otherwise controversial year. The Supreme Court ruled that a statement in The Wall Street Journal by 'Akilisi Pohiva, leader of Tonga's pro-democracy movement, that the king was an authoritarian ruler appeared true and not defamatory. There was also political controversy over revenue from Earth-orbiting satellite slots claimed by Tonga and managed by a company 60% owned by the king's daughter, Princess Pilolevu. In November Tonga broke diplomatic relations with Taiwan and established them with China.

      Economic growth slowed as the Asian financial crisis caused a decline in tourists from that region and lower remittance income from Tongans working overseas. Government expenditure approved for 1998-99 totaled T$129 million ($80.4 million).

      Climatic conditions caused a further decline in economic activity. In January Cyclone Ron caused widespread damage that particularly affected the northern islands. Heavy rain in February caused serious losses in food crops.

BARRIE MACDONALD

▪ 1998

      Area: 750 sq km (290 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 97,600

      Capital: Nuku'alofa

      Head of state and government: King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, assisted by Prime Minister of Privy Council Baron Vaea

      Political dissension that began in late 1996 continued into 1997. Three journalists, one also a legislator, associated with the pro-democracy movement had been imprisoned by the Legislative Assembly for contempt in September 1996 because they had published a motion of impeachment against a government minister before the case was officially opened. They had subsequently been released by the chief justice because due process had not been followed. When the speaker of the Legislative Assembly criticized the chief justice's decision, he was found guilty of contempt by the Supreme Court and fined T$1,000.

      In March Cyclone Hina caused damage to crops and buildings, mostly on Tongatapu; one person was reported killed. Australia provided aid funds for the development of an environmental management strategy, and the Asian Development Bank provided assistance for agriculture. Prospects for exporting squash to Japan improved following a dismal 1996, when exports were less than half of 1994 levels. In addition, increased spending power was anticipated because of a 6-7% increase in funds remitted by Tongans working overseas.

BARRIE MACDONALD

      This article updates Tonga.

▪ 1997

      A constitutional monarchy and member of the Commonwealth, Tonga comprises about 170 islands split into three main groups in the Pacific Ocean east of Fiji. Area: 750 sq km (290 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 101,000. Cap.: Nuku'alofa. Monetary unit: pa'anga, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a free rate of 1.26 pa'anga (T$) to U.S. $1 (1.99 pa'anga = £1 sterling). King, Taufa'ahau Tupou IV; prime minister in 1996, Baron Vaea.

      In January 1996 elections, the People's Party won six of the nine seats designated for commoners in the Legislative Assembly. In March two pro-democracy leaders were jailed for "threatening, abusive and insulting language" toward the minister of police. In July there were regional protests when a New Zealand journalist was denied entry to Tonga for a meeting of the Pacific Islands News Association. The Legislative Assembly in September imprisoned two journalists and an MP for contempt, but they were subsequently released by the chief justice.

      The economy, and agriculture in particular, suffered through a drought that halved the production of squash, which usually accounted for 80% of official export earnings. (BARRIE MACDONALD)

      This article updates Tonga.

▪ 1996

      A constitutional monarchy and member of the Commonwealth, Tonga comprises about 170 islands split into three main groups in the Pacific Ocean east of Fiji. Area: 750 sq km (290 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 100,000. Cap.: Nuku'alofa. Monetary unit: pa'anga, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a free rate of 1.31 pa'anga (T$) to U.S. $1 (2.08 pa'anga = £1 sterling). King, Taufa'ahau Tupou IV; prime minister in 1995, Baron Vaea.

      There was continuing political controversy in 1995 over commoner challenges to the power of King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV and his nominees in Tongan politics. The king's statement that he thought Western-style democracy or some form of power sharing between the monarch and the people was inevitable was subsequently modified. In May Cecil Cocker, the minister of finance, was forced to resign over alleged sexual harassment incidents at an Asian Development Bank conference in Auckland, N.Z.

      The cultivation of squash for export remained a major focus of economic interest, with the government setting a quota of 17,000 tons for export to Japan, Tonga's major market for squash. Discontented growers who had planted for a U.S. order that subsequently collapsed unsuccessfully petitioned the king for an increase of 3,000 tons. In 1994 tourism grew by 11.3%, with most of the growth coming from Tonga's traditional tourist markets—Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. Tonga rejected an application from Japanese interests for the revival of whaling in Tongan waters and, with other members of the South Pacific Forum, condemned the resumption of French nuclear testing.

      (BARRIE MACDONALD)

      This updates the article Tonga.

▪ 1995

      A constitutional monarchy and member of the Commonwealth, Tonga comprises about 170 islands split into three main groups in the Pacific Ocean east of Fiji. Area: 750 sq km (290 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 99,700. Cap.: Nuku'alofa. Monetary unit: pa'anga, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a free rate of 1.35 pa'anga (T$) to U.S. $1 (2.15 pa'anga = £1 sterling). King, Taufa'ahau Tupou IV; prime minister in 1994, Baron Vaea.

      The continuing challenge to the government—largely controlled by the king, his nominees, and a small group of hereditary nobles—posed by the pro-democracy movement went a step farther in September 1994 with the formation of the Tonga Democratic Party. The new party's supporters controlled six of the nine people's (commoners') seats in the Legislative Assembly. 'Akilisi Pohiva, the movement's leader, remained under pressure from the government, losing a defamation action over allegations of improper payments within Tonga's highly profitable squash export industry. In 1993 squash exports to Japan reached 17,000 tons with a value of 15 million pa'anga, which represented Tonga's largest source of foreign exchange. Income from tourism (23,000 visitors) accounted for 11 million pa'anga.

      In foreign affairs Tonga remained active in regional organizations. Late in 1993 the government announced a joint venture with the Malaysian Borneo Finance Bank, which opened a branch in Tonga; it was owned 51% by Asia Capital Corp., 25% by Crown Prince Tupouto'a, and 10% by Tongan business interests; the balance was offered to local investors. The king also announced a joint venture with Sarawak state in Malaysia, under which it was proposed that Tongans establish village settlements there to produce bananas and other crops for Malaysian consumption.

      (BARRIE MACDONALD)

      This updates the article Tonga.

▪ 1994

      A constitutional monarchy and member of the Commonwealth, Tonga comprises about 170 islands split into three main groups in the Pacific Ocean east of Fiji. Area: 780 sq km (301 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 99,100. Cap.: Nuku'alofa. Monetary unit: pa'anga, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a free rate of 1.56 pa'anga (T$) to U.S. $1 (2.35 pa'anga = £1 sterling). King, Taufa'ahau Tupou IV; prime minister in 1993, Baron Vaea.

      The February 1993 general elections provided the opportunity for pro-democracy reformers to challenge the royal establishment. Under the constitution the king and 11 members of his Cabinet occupied 12 permanent seats in the 30-member Parliament, while the hereditary nobles and the commoners each elected 9 members. Of the nine vacant seats contested, pro-democracy candidates won six. Pro-democracy leader 'Akolisi Pohiva maintained that all seats should be decided by popular ballot, with the king appointing a Cabinet from among those elected. The government, however, vigorously defended the existing system.

      On July 4 the kingdom celebrated the 75th birthday of King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV and the 25th anniversary of his reign.

      Faced with continuing recession, the government cut spending by restricting the use of three patrol vessels (donated by Australia) to reduce the costs of fuel and maintenance. The overall budget of T$ 51.7 million allocated T$ 34.3 million for such development projects as fisheries, agriculture, tourism, and infrastructure. A gross domestic product growth of 4% was projected for 1993-94. The king also proposed that a study be conducted on the feasibility of a major land-reclamation and oil-refinery project on Tongatapu.

      In October, Roman Catholic Bishop Patelisio Finau, who had campaigned for social justice and political reform, died while visiting Niue. (BARRIE MACDONALD)

      This updates the article Tonga.

* * *

Introduction
officially  Kingdom of Tonga , Tongan  Puleʿanga Fakatuʿiʿo Tonga , also called  Friendly Islands 
Tonga, flag of  country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of some 170 islands divided into three main island groups: Tongatapu (Tongatapu Group) in the south, Haʿapai (Haʿapai Group) in the centre, and Vavaʿu (Vavaʿu Group) in the north. Isolated islands include Niuafoʿou, Niuatoputapu, and Tafahi (together known as the Niuatoputapu, or Niuas, island group) in the far north and ʿAta in the far south. Tonga's total land area is dispersed between latitudes 15° to 23° S and longitudes 173° to 177° W. The capital, Nukuʿalofa, is on the island of Tongatapu. Tonga is a member of the Commonwealth and of the United Nations.

Land

Relief (Tonga)
      The summit of volcanic (volcano) undersea mountains forms the two roughly parallel chains of the Tongan islands. Most of the islands of the western chain are classified as high islands, because they have been raised well above sea level by repeated volcanic activity. Four of them are still active volcanoes. Some of the islands composed of lava formed by shield volcanoes, such as Late and Kao, have a hard cone-shaped surface that is not easily eroded. Others, such as Fonuafoʿou (Falcon Island), were formed by more explosive volcanoes, and their surfaces, composed of ash and pumice, erode readily. Fonuafoʿou has arisen and disappeared repeatedly, owing to its cycles of eruption and erosion.

      The low islands of the eastern chain have been capped by coral polyps and foraminifera (marine organisms that have calcareous shells), which build coral rock and limestone reefs. The continuing growth of coral counteracts the sea's erosion of the reefs and the islands enclosed by them. A protective reef surrounds Tongatapu Island; many islands in the Vavaʿu Group lack such protection and are shrinking.

      Tongatapu Island, a raised atoll in the Tongatapu Group, with an area of 100.6 square miles (260.5 square km), is the largest and most densely populated island in Tonga. The highest point in Tonga, 3,389 feet (1,033 metres), is on Kao Island in the Haʿapai Group. ʿEua Island (Euaʿ) (Tongatapu Group) has an old volcanic ridge rising to 1,078 feet (329 metres) above sea level. The Vavaʿu Group has hills ranging from 500 to 1,000 feet (150 to 300 metres), and Late Island, in its western volcanic chain, rises to 1,700 feet (518 metres). Vavaʿu Island has a fine, large landlocked harbour. The effects of natural erosion are particularly vivid in Vavaʿu. Rainwater reacting with the carbon dioxide in vegetation acquires acidic properties and dissolves coral and limestone rock, thereby forming caves. The constant action of the waves has created the sheer cliffs and sandspits of Vavaʿu and Nukuʿalofa. There are no rivers in Tonga, although ʿEua and Niuatoputapu have creeks.

Climate
      Tonga has a semitropical climate except in the northernmost islands, where truly tropical conditions prevail. Temperatures range between 60 and 70 °F (16 and 21 °C) in June and July and reach 80 °F (27 °C) in December and January. The mean annual humidity is 77 percent. The mean annual precipitation varies from 64 inches (1,620 mm) in the Haʿapai Group to 97 inches (2,450 mm) on Niuafoʿou. Humidity increases as the distance from the Equator lessens. The northern islands, which are closest to the Equator, are particularly vulnerable to typhoons, which generally occur between December and April.

Plant and animal life
      The well-drained, fertile soils of Euaʿ, Kao, Tofua, and Late islands and the slopes and hilltops of Vavaʿu support original forests. ʿEua has the greatest number and variety of trees, and the ridge on the eastern side is a forest reserve. The fast-growing toi and the tavahi constitute a majority of the tree cover on ʿEua. The sandy, rocky, dry soils of the coasts and the direct exposure there to strong winds and salty spray create unfavourable conditions for coastal vegetation. To conserve moisture, plants near the shore have small waxy or hairy leaves. Tidal sand and mudflats have swampy areas that support mangroves. Behind the mudflats, trees with buttress roots, such as the lekileki, sometimes grow.

      Tonga's land birds include doves, rails, starlings, kingfishers, and many others. The red-breasted musk parrot and the blue-crowned lory, considered by some to be the most beautiful birds in the Pacific, inhabit ʿEua. Island cliffs serve as homes for red-tailed and white-tailed tropic birds. Among the native birds of Niuafoʿou Island is the incubator bird. The common reef heron is a native shorebird. Transient species include golden plovers, wandering tattlers, long-billed curlews, and bar-tailed godwits. Tongan waters attract several varieties of seabirds such as noddies, terns, frigate birds, and mutton birds. The village of Kolovai on Tongatapu Island is home to a colony of flying foxes (flying fox) (Pteropus tonganus, a type of Old World fruit bat). The bats cling to large trees by day and fly at night to forage for food.

People
      Tongans (Tonga) are closely related to Samoans and other Polynesians in culture, language, and racial makeup. Nearly the entire population claims an original Polynesian ancestry, with a small amount of Melanesian influence through contact with Fiji. Intermarriage with Europeans has become more common, especially as a result of the increasing out-migration of Tongans since the 1970s. Religion is an important aspect of Tongan society, and most Tongan families are members of a Christian church. About two-fifths belong to the Free Wesleyan (Methodist) Church; there are smaller numbers of Mormons and Bahāʾīs; and the remainder belong to smaller, mostly Protestant, denominations. The Tongan language is taught in primary schools and is the official language, in addition to English, which is studied as a second language.

      Most of the Tongan population lives in the three major island groups, and nearly three-fourths live on Tongatapu Island. The urban population has been steadily growing and now accounts for about one-third of the total population. Many Tongans migrate overseas, in particular to the United States and New Zealand.

      The majority of the population lives in villages. Traditional structures are called fale; they are rectangular in shape and have thatched or corrugated tin roofs and sides made of woven coconut leaves, reeds, or timber. Some Tongans reside in South Seas colonial-style wooden homes with gingerbread trim and exterior walls in pastel shades.

       Nukuʿalofa has all the amenities of a capital city. It is also a major port of entry and has several wharves and piers. Much of Nukuʿalofa's economic activity revolves around coconuts and coconut products. Other ports and commercial centres are Neiafu in the Vavaʿu Group and Pangai in the Haʿapai Group.

Economy
      Agriculture is the mainstay of the Tongan economy. Squash, coconuts, bananas, and vanilla beans constitute the main cash crops, and other important crops include yams, taro, cassava, corn (maize), watermelons, pineapples, breadfruit, limes, and tomatoes. All land is essentially owned by the Tongan monarchy, but large estates have been divided among the country's nobles. Land is parceled out to peasant proprietors: traditionally, every male age 16 or over was entitled to an allotment of 7.5 acres (3 hectares) of land for cultivation; more recently, population growth has reduced the size of actual allotments in many places. Timber production, livestock raising, and fishing also contribute to Tonga's economy. Many of Tonga's products are consumed domestically, but imports—mainly from New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, and the United States—form the bulk of the goods consumed in the country. Food and beverages account for the largest category of imports, in terms of value.

      Manufactures include concrete products, construction and transportation equipment, furniture, clothing, food products, and various small handicrafts. A small mining industry quarries coral and sand. Crop processing and marketing have been undertaken by cooperative societies. Remittances from Tongans working overseas—especially in New Zealand, the United States, and Australia—and tourism have both contributed significantly to the growth of the Tongan economy.

      About one-fourth of Tonga's road network consists of paved all-weather roads, almost all of which are located on the two largest islands; the remaining roads are of dirt or coral. Tonga has no railroad. Nukuʿalofa and Neiafu are ports used for external shipping. Copra and bananas are exported from Pangai. Regular international air service to New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, Samoa, American Samoa, Niue, and Hawaii (Honolulu) is available from Fuaʿamotu International Airport on Tongatapu. Domestic flights are serviced by airports on ʿEua, Haʿapai, Vavaʿu, Niuafoʿou, and Niuatoputapu.

Government and society
 Tonga's constitution, granted in 1875 by King George Tupou I and amended only slightly since, established a constitutional monarchy. The chief executive is the monarch, who governs in close consultation with the prime minister in all matters except the judiciary; the monarch alone holds the power to appoint judges, grant clemency, and commute prison sentences. The monarch appoints a Privy Council, which consists of the monarch and the cabinet. The cabinet has a prime minister, a deputy prime minister, other ministers, and the governors of Haʿapai and Vavaʿu. The unicameral legislature (Fale Alea) consists of a speaker, the members of the cabinet, 9 nobles selected by the 33 hereditary nobles of Tonga, and 9 representatives elected for three-year terms by all citizens age 21 and over. Local government is provided by three island councils: one covering ʿEua, the Niuas, and Tongatapu, one for the Vavaʿu Group, and one for the Haʿapai Group. The Privy Council acts as part of the court system as well as assisting the monarch in an advisory capacity; it hears appeals from the land court. The Court of Appeal has jurisdiction over civil and criminal appeals from the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court hears cases on matters arising under the constitution and laws of the kingdom, except for cases concerning titles to land. There are also magistrates' courts and a land court. Judges are appointed by the monarch with the consent of the Privy Council and serve indefinite terms unless removed for cause.

      Education is free for all Tongans, and attendance is compulsory between ages 5 and 14. The government runs primary, secondary, and vocational training schools, including a teacher-training college, and the government and many Commonwealth countries offer scholarships to help Tongans pursue higher education abroad. Some primary and secondary schools as well as vocational institutions are run by churches. The University of the South Pacific operates an extension centre in Nukuʿalofa. The private ʿAtenisi Institute (1975) offers secondary, undergraduate, and graduate studies in the liberal arts. Tongans receive free dental and medical treatment. Although the general health of the population is adequate, rates of noncommunicable diseases related to obesity (such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease) have risen steadily since the 1970s. Family planning aids are disseminated with the help of the United Nations and New Zealand.

Cultural life
 Although Western influence has somewhat altered traditions and culture in Tonga, certain Tongan rituals and art forms survive. For example, Tonga shares with Fiji, Samoa, and parts of French Polynesia the elaborate ritual surrounding the drinking of kava. The drink, prepared from the root of a pepper plant, has the properties of a mild narcotic.

      Carving was traditionally done by men, but the craftsmanship was inferior to that of other Polynesians, such as the Maori of New Zealand. Carving and other traditional crafts of higher quality have been produced, however, in response to the demands of the tourist market. Women manufacture tapa cloth from bark and weave mats and baskets from several varieties of pandanus leaves. Traditional dancing (dance) is an important part of national ceremonies and local village festivities. In the popular paddle dance, called meʿetuʿupaki, dancers carry paddle-shaped boards painted or carved with abstractions of the human body. Other popular dances include the kailao, a war dance; the lakalaka and the maʿuluʿulu, dances performed by standing and seated groups, respectively, and accompanied by densely polyphonic singing; and the tauʿolunga, an individual dance accompanied by singing. An oral tradition persists in Tongan villages in the form of proverbs, religious epics, genealogies, poetry, fables, and myths.

History
       Tonga was first inhabited about 3,000 years ago by Austronesian-speaking people of the Lapita culture, best known from their elaborately decorated pottery. From at least the 10th century CE Tonga was ruled by a line of sacred kings and queens, the Tuʿi Tonga. About 1470 the reigning Tuʿi Tonga transferred his temporal powers to his brother under the title of Tuʿi Haʿa Takalaua. A similar transfer of power about 1600 resulted in the creation of a third line of monarchs, the Tuʿi Kanokupolu, who eventually became the rulers.

      Although some islands were visited by the Dutch navigators Jakob Le Maire and Abel Janszoon Tasman (Tasman, Abel Janszoon) in 1616 and 1643, respectively, effective European contact dates from Capt. James Cook (Cook, James)'s visits between 1773 and 1777. Cook called the Tonga islands the Friendly Islands, because the native inhabitants provided him with necessary supplies and gave him a warm welcome. The London Missionary Society and a mission of Methodists made unsuccessful attempts to introduce Christianity to Tonga in 1797 and 1822, respectively. A renewed attempt by the Methodist mission in 1826 was successful, and a Roman Catholic mission was established by the Marists in 1842. Between 1799 and 1852 Tonga went through a period of war and disorder. This was finally ended by Taufaʿahau, who was converted to Christianity in 1831 by the Methodist missionaries. He became Tuʿi Kanokupolu and subsequently took the title King George Tupou I in 1845. During the king's long reign (1845–93), Tonga became a unified and independent country with a modern constitution (1875), legal code, and administrative structure. With Taufaʿahau as its most important convert, Christianity spread rapidly. In separate treaties, Germany (1876), Great Britain (1879), and the United States (1888) recognized Tonga's independence. George I was succeeded by his great-grandson George II, who died in 1918. During his reign the kingdom became a British (British Empire) protectorate (1900) to discourage German advances. Under the treaty with Great Britain (amended in 1905), Tonga agreed to conduct all foreign affairs through a British consul, who had veto power over Tonga's foreign policy and finances. George II was followed by Queen Salote Tupou III, who ruled from 1918 to 1965. She was succeeded upon her death in 1965 by her son Prince Tupoutoʿa Tungi, who had been Tonga's prime minister since 1949. He ruled as King Taufaʿahau Tupou IV.

      In 1970 Tonga regained full control of domestic and foreign affairs and became a fully independent nation within the Commonwealth. A pro-democracy movement took shape in the late 20th century, and, from the 1990s, reform advocates won significant representation in the legislature. The government, however, resisted change. Pro-democracy leaders, including ʿAkilisi Pohiva, a member of the legislature, were occasionally arrested and imprisoned.

      From 1983 to 1991, despite domestic and international objections, the government sold some 6,600 Tongan passports to foreign nationals. The revenue from the sale—purportedly some $30 million—was invested in a trust fund that in the late 1990s came under the control of an American businessman, Jesse Bogdanoff. However, by 2001 the fund had lost nearly its entire value to risky investments; a Tongan lawsuit against Bogdanoff in U.S. courts was settled in 2004 for only a fraction of the loss.

      As the reform movement gained momentum, some in the legislature and in the royal family were sympathetic. The government, however, responded by attempting to further solidify its authority. In 1999 the first indigenous broadcast television service, government-owned Television Tonga, was established. A newspaper critical of the government and the monarchy, Taimi ʿo Tonga, was banned at various times for allegedly being seditious. The legislature amended the constitution in 2003 to increase governmental control over the media, despite an earlier large-scale public demonstration in Nukuʿalofa against the changes; the Supreme Court later invalidated the amendments. From July to September 2005, in the first national strike in the country's history, thousands of public service workers struck successfully for greater pay equity.

 The country's first nonnoble prime minister, Feleti (Fred) Sevele, was appointed in March 2006. In September, King Taufaʿahau Tupou IV died and was succeeded by Crown Prince Tupoutoʿa, who ruled as King George (Siaosi) Tupou V. Later that month a National Committee for Political Reform, whose formation had been approved by King Taufaʿahau Tupou IV, made its report to the legislature. Its recommendations included reducing the size of the Fale Alea and increasing the number of seats for popularly elected representatives. The Fale Alea passed an amended version, which was to take effect within the next several years; following the vote, a demonstration by pro-democracy protesters turned into a riot that went on for several weeks. Arson destroyed most of the capital's business district and left seven people dead; hundreds were arrested. Troops were called in from New Zealand and Australia to reestablish peace.

      Following his accession to the throne, King George Tupou V began divesting himself of ownership in many of the state assets that constituted much of the wealth of the monarchy. This process was completed prior to his coronation in August 2008. At the same time, the king announced the cession of much of the monarchy's absolute power; henceforth, most of the monarch's governmental decisions, except those relating to the judiciary, would be made in consultation with the prime minister.

The Rev. Sione Latukefu Sophie Foster Ed.

Additional Reading
Matt Fletcher, Tonga, 4th ed. (2001), is a good general guidebook. Elizabeth Bott, Tongan Society at the Time of Captain Cook's Visits: Discussions with Her Majesty Queen Sālote Tupou (1982), is a standard historical reference. Sione Lātūkefu, Church and State in Tonga: The Wesleyan Methodist Missionaries and Political Development, 1822–1875 (1974), is a detailed history. A.H. Wood, A History and Geography of Tonga (1943, reprinted 2003), is a brief but excellent introduction. Noel Rutherford, Friendly Islands: A History of Tonga (1977), provides comprehensive coverage of life in Tonga; and I.C. Campbell, Island Kingdom, 2nd rev. ed. (2001), gives the history of Tonga from ancient to contemporary times. Ed.

▪ African people
      Bantu-speaking people who inhabit the southern portion of Zambia and neighbouring areas of northern Zimbabwe and Botswana. Numbering more than one million in the early 21st century, the Tonga are concentrated along the Zambezi Escarpment and along the shores of Lake Kariba. They are settled agriculturists who grow corn (maize) primarily for subsistence but also for limited commercial purposes. The vast majority of Tonga live in small, dispersed villages; they are the only one of Zambia's major ethnic groupings whose wealth and power are founded upon rural, agricultural activities as opposed to urban pursuits.

      Descent and land inheritance are reckoned among the Tonga along matrilineal lines, and a newly married couple go to live near the bride's relatives. They attribute marked importance to spirits associated with rainfall, and thus rainmakers are prominent in Tonga society.

      Before the British (British Empire) colonization of what is now Zambia, the Tonga were loosely organized into a number of matrilineal clans that had neither leaders nor defined political functions. These clans were subdivided into numerous small lineages that controlled property and arbitrated disputes among their members. The British appointed village chiefs from among prominent local Tongas, and gradually this network of local officials coalesced into a single, unified political structure comprising a hierarchy of chiefs. Both the ethnic identity and political organization of the Tonga are thus ultimately the products of British attempts to administer them.

      In the early 21st century the Tonga proper constituted about one-eighth of Zambia's population, making them the second largest ethnic group (after the Bemba) in the country.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

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  • Tonga — (del lat. «tunĭca») 1 f. Tongada (capa de cosas). 2 (Cuba) *Montón de cosas apiladas en orden. 3 (Ar., Arg., Col.) *Tarea. * * * tonga. (Del lat. tunĭca). f. tongada. || 2. Ar. y Col …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • tonga — (Del lat. tunĭca). 1. f. tongada. 2. Ar. y Col. tarea (ǁ obra o trabajo). 3. Can. y Cuba. Pila o porción de cosas apiladas en orden. Sacos en tonga. [m6]Una tonga de tablas …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • Tonga [2] — Tonga, 1) (T. Archipel, Freundschaftliche Insel, Freundschaftsinseln, engl. Friendly Islands), Archipelagus im Stillen Ocean unter 18 bis 22° südlicher Breite gelegen, zum Südö stlichen Polynesien gehörig. Er bildet eine der Gruppen des äußeren… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Tonga — [täŋ′gə] kingdom occupying a group of islands (Tonga Islands) in the SW Pacific, east of Fiji; member of the Commonwealth: 289 sq mi (749 sq km); pop. 95,000; cap. Nukualofa …   English World dictionary

  • Tonga — Ton ga, n. (Med.) A drug useful in neuralgia, derived from a Fijian plant supposed to be of the aroid genus {Epipremnum}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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