World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of Australia and South Pacific

Tonga Travelling Guide
Tonga Travelling Guide

General 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.

Area comparative: Four times the size of Washington, DC.

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.

Population: 106,137 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Polynesian, Europeans about 300

Religions: Christian

Language: Tongan, English

Government type: Hereditary constitutional monarchy.

Capital: Nuku'alofa

Legal system: Based on English law.

Economic 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.

Communication/Telephone system: Not available.

Places of interest: Bordered by unbelievable beaches, surrounded by coral reefs, basking under a tropical sun. That's hard to beat. But there's a more active side to island life, with possibilities for hiking through Pacific rainforest to crater lakes and to the lips of active volcanoes, diving to shipwrecks and underwater canyons, abseiling down seaside cliffs or watching the local rugby team go through its paces.

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