Tonga is located in the Pacific. It is a sovereign independent state and it is known as the “Friendly Islands”. Some people may have heard of it as the “Pearl of the South Pacific”. The islands that make Tonga have a popular culture and a unique language in the entire world. The biggest city of Tonga is Naku’alofa, which is the capital of the country, the largest port and the kingdom’s administrative center. There are about 150 islands in the archipelago and only 40 are inhabited.
In the South Pacific, Tonga is the only monarchy, and apparently it is the oldest too. It is a little kingdom which has 3 groups: Tongatapu, Ha’apai and Vava’u. On the territory it is located the volcano Kao which is the highest point of the country. Approximately 104,227 people live on these islands. In 1926, only 27,000 people were inhabitants of a few islands from the archipelago.
Tonga has a tropical oceanic climate and the temperatures are always close to 22 degrees Celsius. This means that the islands are a perfect place for swimming and relaxing. It is one of the most homogeneous countries in the world, because 98% of the people are Tongan. Other people living on the islands are Europeans, islanders from the Pacific and Polynesian.
The predominant religion is Orthodox. It is a fact that Tonga has the highest concentration of Mormons from the entire world, representing 35%. Other people are Roman Catholic or Adventists. Some customs of Tongans are in some way similar to those of the Europeans. They live in houses built by those in New Zealand or Australia. Tonga has developed an economy especially in naval and crafts domains. There is a University located in the capital city, Nuku’alofa and also a museum.
Neiafu is the second city of the kingdom. According to history, people have come here from Samoa, that is why the connection with the Samoan language. The language spoken by Tongan people is a part of the Polynesian group of languages. It is similar to other languages of this family, especially to the Samoan language. The official language is Tongan, but people also speak English to communicate especially with tourists. 30% of the population uses English as a second language, besides Tongan.
Tonga was a powerful kingdom at some point but it did not manage to last very long. In 1616 and 1643 were the first visits of Europeans in these parts of the Pacific. The English Captain James Cook came here in 1773 and 1774 and he is the one who called it the “Friendly Islands”. Of course, like any other discoverer of new lands, he claimed the territories for the British Empire.
He did not succeed to do such a thing. A chief of a tribe converted to Christianity and united all the tribes from all the islands and made a powerful state. In 1875, appeared the national symbols of Tonga: the national anthem, the flag and the emblem.