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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.


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Geography

Location
Oceania, archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand

Geographic coordinates
20 00 S, 175 00 W

Map references
Oceania

Area World Ranking: 190
Total 747 sq km
Land 717 sq km
Water 30 sq km

Area - comparative
Four times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries
0 km

Coastline
419 km

Maritime claims
Territorial sea 12 nm
Exclusive economic zone 200 nm
Continental shelf
200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation

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

Elevation extremes
Lowest point Pacific Ocean 0 m
Highest point
Unnamed elevation on Kao Island 1,033 m

Natural resources
Fish, fertile soil

Land use
Arable land 20%
Permanent crops 14.67%
Other 65.33% (2005)

Irrigated land
NA

Natural hazards
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

Environment - current issues
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

Environment - international agreements
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

Geography - note
Archipelago of 169 islands (36 inhabited)


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Tonga (Nuku'alofa):
Country Flag
Country Locator

GPS points from Tonga (Nuku'alofa)

square Limu Island Ha Apai

square Hyane Shoal Tongatapu

square Tongataboo Island Tongatapu

square Bagaimotu Tongatapu

square Ava Tupu Ha Apai

square Nougou Boule Ha Apai


square Lolo Futu Ha Apai




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