Nation at a Glance - Tonga

History

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.

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

Border Countries: 0 km

Total Area: 747 sq km Land: 717 sq km Water: 30 sq km

Climate: Tropical; modified by trade winds; warm season (December to May), cool season (May to December)

Terrain: Mostly flat islands with limestone bedrock formed from uplifted coral formation; others have limestone overlying volcanic rock

Natural resources: Fish, arable land

Land use: Agricultural land: 43.1% arable land 22.2%; permanent crops 15.3%; permanent pasture 5.6% Forest: 12.5% Other: 44.4% (2011 est.)

Ethnic groups: Tongan 96.6%, part-Tongan 1.7%, Other 1.7%, Unspecified 0.03% (2006 est.)

Languages: English and Tongan 87%, Tongan (official) 10.7%, English (official) 1.2%, Other 1.1%, Unspecified 0.03% (2006 est.)

Religions: Protestant 64.9% (includes Free Wesleyan Church 37.3%, Free Church of Tonga 11.4%, Church of Tonga 7.2%, Tokaikolo Christian Church 2.6%, Assembly of God 2.3%, Seventh Day Adventist 2.2%, Constitutional Church of Tonga 0.9%, Anglican 0.8% and Full Gospel Church 0.2%), Mormon 16.8%, Roman Catholic 15.6%, Other 1.1%, None 0.03%, Unspecified 1.7% (2006 est.)

Population: 106,513 (July 2016 est.)

Literacy: 99.4%; Male: 99.3%; Female: 99.4% (2015 est.)

Administrative divisions: 5 island divisions; 'Eua, Ha'apai, Ongo Niua, Tongatapu, Vava'u

Economy: Tonga has a small, open, island economy and is the last constitutional monarchy among the Pacific Island countries. It has a narrow export base in agricultural goods. Squash, vanilla beans, and yams are the main crops. Agricultural exports, including fish, make up two-thirds of total exports. Tourism is the second-largest source of hard currency earnings following remittances. Tonga had 45,000 visitors in 2013. The country must import a high proportion of its food, mainly from New Zealand.The country remains dependent on external aid and remittances from overseas Tongans to offset its trade deficit. The government is emphasizing the development of the private sector, encouraging investment, and is committing increased funds for healthcare and education. Tonga's English-speaking and educated workforce offer a viable labor market, and the tropical climate provides fertile soil. Renewable energy and deep sea mining also offer opportunities for investment.Tonga has a reasonably sound basic infrastructure and well developed social services. The government faces high unemployment among the young, moderate inflation, pressures for democratic reform, and rising civil service expenditures.

Agriculture - products: Squash, coconuts, copra, bananas, vanilla beans, cocoa, coffee, sweet potatoes, cassava, taro and kava

Industries: Tourism, construction, fishing

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