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In 1974, ethnic differences within the British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands caused the Polynesians of the Ellice Islands to vote for separation from the Micronesians of the Gilbert Islands. The following year, the Ellice Islands became the separate British colony of Tuvalu. Independence was granted in 1978. In 2000, Tuvalu negotiated a contract leasing its Internet domain name ".tv" for $50 million in royalties over a 12-year period.


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Geography

Location
Oceania, island group consisting of nine coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to Australia

Geographic coordinates
8 00 S, 178 00 E

Map references
Oceania

Area World Ranking: 237
Total 26 sq km
Land 26 sq km
Water 0 sq km

Area - comparative
0.1 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries
0 km

Coastline
24 km

Maritime claims
Territorial sea 12 nm
Contiguous zone 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone 200 nm

Climate
Tropical; moderated by easterly trade winds (March to November); westerly gales and heavy rain (November to March)

Terrain
Low-lying and narrow coral atolls

Elevation extremes
Lowest point Pacific Ocean 0 m
Highest point Unnamed location 5 m

Natural resources
Fish

Land use
Arable land 0%
Permanent crops 66.67%
Other 33.33% (2005)

Irrigated land
NA

Natural hazards
Severe tropical storms are usually rare, but in 1997 there were three cyclones; low level of islands make them sensitive to changes in sea level

Environment - current issues
Since there are no streams or rivers and groundwater is not potable, most water needs must be met by catchment systems with storage facilities (the Japanese Government has built one desalination plant and plans to build one other); beachhead erosion because of the use of sand for building materials; excessive clearance of forest undergrowth for use as fuel; damage to coral reefs from the spread of the Crown of Thorns starfish; Tuvalu is concerned about global increases in greenhouse gas emissions and their effect on rising sea levels, which threaten the country's underground water table; in 2000, the government appealed to Australia and New Zealand to take in Tuvaluans if rising sea levels should make evacuation necessary

Environment - international agreements
Party to
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
Signed, but not ratified
None of the selected agreements

Geography - note
One of the smallest and most remote countries on Earth; six of the nine coral atolls - Nanumea, Nui, Vaitupu, Nukufetau, Funafuti, and Nukulaelae - have lagoons open to the ocean; Nanumaya and Niutao have landlocked lagoons; Niulakita does not have a lagoon


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  Tuvalu (Funafuti):


  GPS points from Tuvalu (Funafuti)

Lakina Tuvalu (general)

Ellice Islands Tuvalu (general)

Diafatuli Tuvalu (general)

Te Afualiku Tuvalu (general)

Motiatua Tuvalu (general)

Mutulotu Tuvalu (general)

Independence Tuvalu (general)

Nanomea Atoll Tuvalu (general)




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