C.I. told me (just returned my call on the phone) to go to the White House website and grab a photo. And I mentioned that Tonga was a country I never heard of until they were in yesterday's snapshot and also mentioned this Monday (they've pulled their 55 members out of Iraq) so C.I. steered me to the State Dept page:
Tonga is an archipelago directly south of Western Samoa. Forty-eight of its 171 islands are inhabited. Geologically the Tongan islands are of two types: most have a limestone base formed from uplifted coral formations; others consist of limestone overlaying a volcanic base. More
Kingdom of Tonga
Area: 747 sq. km. (288 sq. mi.).
Cities: Capital--Nuku'alofa (pop. 34,000).
Terrain: 171 islands, mainly raised coral but some volcanic; 48 inhabited.
Climate: Tropical, modified by trade winds. Warm season (December to May), cool season (May to December).
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Tongan(s).
Population (2006 census): 101,990.
Age structure: 38% below 15; 8% over 60.
Annual growth rate (2006): 0.4%.
Ethnic groups: Tongan 98%, other Polynesian, European.
Languages: Tongan, English.
Education: Literacy (2004)--98.9%.
Health: Infant mortality rate (2006.)--19/1,000. Life expectancy at birth--68.56 yrs.: female--73 years; male--67.3years.
Work force (2003) 36,500: Agriculture--65%.
Unemployment (2003): 5.2%.
Type: Constitutional hereditary monarchy.
Constitution: 1875 (revised 1970).
Independence: June 4, 1970.
Branches: Executive--monarch, prime minister, and cabinet. Legislative--unicameral Legislative Assembly. Judicial--Court of Appeal (Privy Council), Supreme Court, Land Court, Magistrates' Court.
Administrative subdivisions: Three main island groups--Ha'apai, Tongatapu, Vava'u.
Political parties: People's Democratic Party, Friendly Islands Human Rights and Democratic Movement, Paati Langafonua Tu'uloa.
Suffrage: Universal at age 21.
Central government budget (2008/2009 est.): $132 million.
Economy (all figures in U.S. dollars)
GDP (2006): $232 million.
Per capita GDP (2006): $2,274.
GDP real growth rate (2007): -3.5%.
Natural resources: Fish.
Agriculture (25% of GDP): Products--squash, vanilla beans, root crops, fish, other marine products.
Industry: 17% of GDP.
Services (2006/2007 est.): 57% of GDP.
Trade (2007): Exports--$5.7 million; squash, fish, vanilla beans, root crops. Major export markets--New Zealand, U.S, Australia, Japan, Fiji. Imports--$117.9 million; food, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, chemicals. Major import sources--New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, U.S.,Japan
Fiscal year: July 1 to June 30.
The thumbnail (I only went with the small one) is an AP photo by the way.
I have no idea who the credit is for a map. And I'll include a little more from the State Dept background:
The word Tonga means "south" in numerous Polynesian languages. Some scholars believe the inhabitants originally came from the islands now known as Samoa. Archaeological evidence indicates that the Tonga islands have been settled since at least 500 B.C., and local traditions have carefully preserved the names of the Tongan sovereigns for about 1,000 years. The power of the Tongan monarchy reached its height in the 13th century. At the time, chieftains exercised political influence as far away as Samoa.
During the 14th century, the King of Tonga delegated much of his temporal power to a brother while retaining the spiritual authority. Sometime later, this process was repeated by the second royal line, thus resulting in three distinct lines: the Tu'i Tonga with spiritual authority, which is believed to have extended over much of Polynesia; the Tu'i Ha'atakalaua; and the Tu'i Kanokupolu. The latter two had temporal authority for carrying out much of the day-to-day administration of the kingdom.
Dutch navigators in 1616 were the first Europeans to sight the Tongan archipelago. The main island of Tongatapu was first visited by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1643. Continual contact with Europeans, however, did not begin until more than 125 years later. Captain James Cook visited the islands in 1773 and 1777 and gave the archipelago the name "the Friendly Islands" because of the gentle nature of the people he encountered. He, of course, was never aware of the acrimonious debate that raged among contending nobles over who should have the honor of attacking Cook's tiny fleet and killing its sailors. In 1789, the famous mutiny on the British ship, Bounty, took place in the waters between the Ha'apai and Nomuka island groups.
Shortly after Captain Cook's last visit, warfare broke out in the islands as the three lines of kings contended for dominance. At about the same time, young Tongan nobles serving as mercenaries took Tongan culture to Fiji's most eastern island group, the Laus. The first missionaries, attached to the London Missionary Society, arrived in Tonga in 1747. A second missionary group followed in 1822, led by Walter Lawry of the Wesleyan Missionary Society. They converted Taufa'ahau, one of the claimants to the Tu'i Kanokupolu line, and Christianity began to spread throughout the islands.
At the time of his conversion, Taufa'ahau took the name of Siaosi (George) and his consort assumed the name Salote (Charlotte) in honor of King George III and Queen Charlotte of England. In the following years, he united all of the Tongan islands for the first time in recorded history. In 1845, he was formally proclaimed King George Tupou I, and the present dynasty was founded. He established a constitution and a parliamentary government based, in some respects, on the British model. In 1862, he abolished the existing system of semi-serfdom and established an entirely alien system of land tenure. Under this system every male Tongan, upon reaching the age of 16, was entitled to rent--for life and at a nominal fee--a plot of bushland (called "api tukuhau") of 8.25 acres, plus a village allotment of about three-eights of an acre for his home (‘api kolo).
Tonga concluded a treaty of friendship and protection with the United Kingdom in 1900 and came under British protection. It retained its independence and autonomy, while the United Kingdom agreed to handle its foreign affairs and protect it from external attack.
During World War II, in close collaboration with New Zealand, Tonga formed a local defense force of about 2,000 troops that saw action in the Solomon Islands. In addition, New Zealand and U.S. troops were stationed on Tongatapu, which became a staging point for shipping.
A new treaty of friendship and protection with the United Kingdom, signed in 1958 and ratified in May 1959, provided for a British Commissioner and consul in Tonga who were responsible to the Governor of Fiji in his capacity as British Chief Commissioner for Tonga. In mid-1965 the British Commissioner and consul became directly responsible to the U.K. Secretary of State for Colonial Affairs. Tonga became fully independent on June 4, 1970, an event officially designated by the King as Tonga's "reentry into the community of nations." On August 1, 2008, King Siaosi Tupou V, who ascended the throne in September 2006, was formally crowned as Tonga’s king.I really did find the history fascinating.
Okay, the Google. Just tracking my cousin's site on the Google. For reference, here's what happens when you Google The Common Ills:
- The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org. iraq · i hate the war · the ballet · permalink posted by Common Ills @ 8:03 PM ...
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