Introduction ::Tonga

    Tonga - unique among Pacific nations - never completely lost its indigenous governance. The archipelagos of "The Friendly Islands" were united into a Polynesian kingdom in 1845. Tonga became a constitutional monarchy in 1875 and a British protectorate in 1900; it withdrew from the protectorate and joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970. Tonga remains the only monarchy in the Pacific.

Geography ::Tonga

    Oceania, archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand
    20 00 S, 175 00 W
    total: 747 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 190
    land: 717 sq km
    water: 30 sq km
    four times the size of Washington, DC
    0 km
    419 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
    tropical; modified by trade winds; warm season (December to May), cool season (May to December)
    most islands have limestone base formed from uplifted coral formation; others have limestone overlying volcanic base
    lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: unnamed elevation on Kao Island 1,033 m
    fish, fertile soil
    arable land: 21.33%
    permanent crops: 14.67%
    other: 64% (2011)
    cyclones (October to April); earthquakes and volcanic activity on Fonuafo'ou
    volcanism: moderate volcanic activity; Fonualei (elev. 180 m) has shown frequent activity in recent years, while Niuafo'ou (elev. 260 m), which last erupted in 1985, has forced evacuations; other historically active volcanoes include Late and Tofua
    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
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    archipelago of 169 islands (36 inhabited)

People and Society ::Tonga

Government ::Tonga

    conventional long form: Kingdom of Tonga
    conventional short form: Tonga
    local long form: Pule'anga Tonga
    local short form: Tonga
    former: Friendly Islands
    constitutional monarchy
    name: Nuku'alofa
    geographic coordinates: 21 08 S, 175 12 W
    time difference: UTC+13 (18 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    3 island groups; Ha'apai, Tongatapu, Vava'u
    4 June 1970 (from UK protectorate)
    National Day, 4 November (1875)
    4 November 1875; revised 1967
    English common law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    21 years of age; universal
    chief of state: King TUPOU VI (since 18 March 2012); note - King George TUPOU V died on 18 March 2012 in Hong Kong; he was succeeded by his brother Crown Prince TUPOUTO'A Lavaka, who took the throne name TUPOU VI
    head of government: Prime Minister Lord Siale'ataonga TU'IVAKANO (since 22 December 2010)
    cabinet: Cabinet is nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the monarch
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    note: there is also a Privy Council that advises the monarch
    elections: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister and deputy prime minister elected by and from the members of parliament and appointed by the monarch
    election results: Lord Siale'ataonga TU'IVAKANO elected by parliament on 21 December 2010 with 14 of 26 votes
    unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fale Alea (26 seats - 9 for nobles elected from among the country's 29 nobles, 17 members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    elections: last held on 25 November 2010 (next to be held in 2014)
    election results: Peoples Representatives: percent of vote - independents 67.3%, Democratic Party 28.5%, other 4.2%; seats - Democratic Party 12, independents 5
    highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and a number of judges determined by the monarch); note - appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are brought before the King in Privy Council, the monarch's advisory organ that has both judicial and legislative powers
    judge selection and term of office: judge appointments and tenures made by the King in Privy Council, judge appointments subject to consent of the Legislative Assembly
    subordinate courts: Supreme Court; Magistrate's Courts; Land Courts
    Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands [Samuela 'Akilisi POHIVA]
    People's Democratic Party or PDP [Tesina FUKO]
    Sustainable Nation-Building Party [Sione FONUA]
    Tonga Democratic Labor Party [NA]
    Tonga Human Rights and Democracy Movement or THRDM [NA]
    Human Rights and Democracy Movement Tonga or HRDMT [Rev. Simote VEA, chairman]
    Public Servant's Association [Finau TUTONE]
    chief of mission: Ambassador Sonatane Tu'akinamolahi TAUMOEPEAU-TUPOU
    chancery: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400B, New York, NY 10017
    telephone: [1] (800) 345-6541
    consulate(s) general: San Francisco
    the US does not have an embassy in Tonga; the US ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tonga
    red with a bold red cross on a white rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner; the cross reflects the deep-rooted Christianity in Tonga; red represents the blood of Christ and his sacrifice; white signifies purity
    red cross on white field; arms equal length
    name: "Ko e fasi `o e tu"i `o e `Otu Tonga" (Song of the King of the Tonga Islands)
    lyrics/music: Uelingatoni Ngu TUPOUMALOHI/Karl Gustavus SCHMITT
    note: in use since 1875; the anthem is more commonly known as "Fasi Fakafonua" (National Song)

Economy ::Tonga

Energy ::Tonga

Communications ::Tonga

    30,000 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    55,000 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 200
    general assessment: competition between Tonga Telecommunications Corporation (TCC) and Shoreline Communications Tonga (SCT) is accelerating expansion of telecommunications; SCT granted approval to introduce high-speed digital service for telephone, Internet, and television while TCC has exclusive rights to operate the mobile-phone network; international telecom services are provided by government-owned Tonga Telecommunications International
    domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity about 80 telephones per 100 persons; fully automatic switched network
    international: country code - 676; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2011)
    2 state-owned TV stations and 2 privately owned TV stations; satellite and cable TV services are available; 2 state-owned and 3 privately owned radio stations; Radio Australia broadcasts available via satellite (2009)
    5,367 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    8,400 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 203

Transportation ::Tonga

Military ::Tonga