Tonga Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Tonga > Map Economy

Background: The archipelago of "The Friendly Islands" was united into a Polynesian kingdom in 1845. It became a constitutional monarchy in 1875 and a British protectorate in 1900. Tonga acquired its independence in 1970 and became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. It remains the only monarchy in the Pacific.
Government type: hereditary constitutional monarchy
Capital: Nuku'alofa
Currency: 1 pa'anga (TOP) = 100 seniti

Geography of Tonga

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
Area:
total: 748 sq km
land: 718 sq km
water: 30 sq km
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 419 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
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 location on Kao Island 1,033 m
Natural resources: fish, fertile soil
Land use:
arable land: 24%
permanent crops: 43%
permanent pastures: 6%
forests and woodland: 11%
other: 16% (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: cyclones (October to April); earthquakes and volcanic activity on Fonuafo'ou
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, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: archipelago of 170 islands (36 inhabited)

People of Tonga

Population: 112,422 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 41.52% 
15-64 years: 54.43%
65 years and over: 4.05% 
Population growth rate: 1.91% 
Birth rate: 24.92 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 5.86 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 14.45 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 67.94 years
male: 65.54 years
female: 70.45 years 
Total fertility rate: 3.2 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Tongan(s)
adjective: Tongan
Ethnic groups: Polynesian, Europeans about 300
Religions: Christian (Free Wesleyan Church claims over 30,000 adherents)
Languages: Tongan, English
Literacy:
definition: can read and write Tongan and/or English
total population: 98.5%
male: 98.4%
female: 98.7% (1996 est.)

SOURCE: The World Factbook

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Tonga > Map Economy