Kingdom of Tonga
Location of the Kingdom of Tonga with present day borders shown.
|Status||Protected state of the United Kingdom|
|Common languages|| English |
|Religion||Free Wesleyan Church|
|Government||Constitutional monarchy (British Protectorate)|
|George Tupou II (first)|
|Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV (last)|
|Siosateki Veikune (first)|
|Fatafehi Tu'ipelehake (last)|
• Treaty of Friendship
|18 May 1900|
• End of protection status
|4 June 1970|
|Currency|| Tongan pound (1921–1967) |
Tongan paʻanga (1967–1970)
|ISO 3166 code||TO|
From 1900 to 1970, the Kingdom of Tonga was a protected state of the United Kingdom.
Tonga became a British protected state under a Treaty of Friendship on May 18, 1900, when European settlers and rival Tongan chiefs tried to oust the second king. The Treaty of Friendship and protected state status ended in 1970 under arrangements established prior to her death by the third monarch, Queen Sālote.
An unspoken agreement of the treaty that was common in British Protectorate states was a new British monopoly on Tonga's thriving vanilla industry, and their small deposits of minerals.
On 18 May 1900, to discourage German advances,the Kingdom of Tonga became a Protected State with the United Kingdom under a Treaty of Friendship signed by George Tupou II after European settlers and rival Tongan chiefs attempted to overthrow him. Foreign affairs of the Kingdom of Tonga were conducted through the British Consul. The United Kingdom had veto power over foreign policies and finances of the Kingdom of Tonga.
Tonga was affected by the 1918 flu pandemic, with 1,800 Tongans killed, around eight per cent of the residents.
For most of the 20th century Tonga was quiet, inward-looking, and somewhat isolated from developments elsewhere in the world. Tonga's complex social structure is essentially broken into three tiers: the king, the nobles, and the commoners. Between the nobles and commoners are Matapule, sometimes called "talking chiefs," who are associated with the king or a noble and who may or may not hold estates. Obligations and responsibilities are reciprocal, and although the nobility are able to extract favors from people living on their estates, they likewise must extend favors to their people. Status and rank play a powerful role in personal relationships, even within families.
On 4 June 1970, protected state status of the Kingdom of Tonga ended. The end of the Kingdom of Tonga protected state status was arraigned by Salote Tupou III prior to her death in 1965.
Tonga, officially named the Kingdom of Tonga, is a Polynesian sovereign state and archipelago comprising 169 islands, of which 36 are inhabited. The total surface area is about 750 square kilometres (290 sq mi) scattered over 700,000 square kilometres (270,000 sq mi) of the southern Pacific Ocean. As of 2016, the state had a population of 100,651 people, of whom 70% reside on the main island of Tongatapu.
The history of Tonga is recorded since the century after 900 BC, when seafarers associated with the Lapita diaspora first settled the islands which now make up the Kingdom of Tonga. Along with Fiji and Samoa, the area served as a gateway into the rest of the Pacific region known as Polynesia. Ancient Tongan mythologies recorded by early European explorers report the islands of 'Ata and Tongatapu as the first islands having been hauled to the surface from the deep ocean by Maui.
Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV was the King of Tonga, from the death of his mother, Queen Sālote Tupou III, in 1965 until his own death in 2006.
Sālote Tupou III was Queen of Tonga from 1918 to her death in 1965. She reigned for nearly 48 years, longer than any other Tongan Monarch. She was well known for her height, standing 6 ft 3 in tall in her prime.
Siaosi Tupou II, King of Tonga was the King of Tonga from 18 February 1893 until his death. He was officially crowned at Nukuʻalofa, on 17 March 1893. He was also the 20th Tuʻi Kanokupolu.
George Tupou I, King of Tonga was originally known as Tāufaʻāhau I, or Tupou Maeakafa Ngininginiofolanga in modern spelling. He adopted the name Siaosi, the Tongan version of George, after King George III of the United Kingdom, when he was baptized in 1831. His nickname was Lopa-ukamea, meaning iron cable.
George Tupou V was the King of Tonga from the death of his father Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV in 2006 until his own death six years later.
The Legislative Assembly of Tonga has 25 members in which 17 members elected by majority of the people for a 5-year term in multi-seat constituencies via the single non-transferable vote system. There are 8 members elected by the 33 hereditary nobles of Tonga. The Assembly is controlled by the speaker of the House who is elected by majority of the elected members of Parliament and constitutionally appointed by the king.
Viliami Tungī Mailefihi was a Tongan high chieftain and Prince Consort of Queen Sālote Tupou III. He served as Prime Minister of Tonga from 1923 until his death in 1941.
ʻIlima Lei Fifita Tohi, also known since her marriage as 'Ilimalei Kalaniuvalu, is claimed to be the illegitimate daughter of late King George Tupou V of Tonga.
Siosa'ia Ma'ulupekotofa Tuita is a Tongan royal and diplomat. He is the current Chief Tuita, Lord Tuita.
Halaevalu Mata'aho ʻAhomeʻe was the Queen Consort of Tonga from 1965 to 2006, and the widow of the late King Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV of Tonga. She was the mother of King George Tupou V and the current reigning King of Tonga, Tupou VI.
There are 34 traditional noble titles in the modern Kingdom of Tonga. They all are estate holders. Twenty titles were established by Siaosi Tupou I with the Constitution of 1875. In 1880 he added 11 more. Tupou II created the titles Lasike in 1894 and Veikune in 1903. Sālote Tupou III made in 1921 the title of Tupoutoʻa. In the beginning it was forbidden for a noble to have more than one title. Later this was made possible.
Tongan kava ceremonies play an integral part of Tongan society and governance. Ranging from informal “faikava” or kava “parties” to the highly stratified, ancient, and ritualized Taumafa Kava, or Royal Kava Ceremony, Tongan kava ceremonies continue to permeate Tongan society both in Tonga and diaspora, strengthening cultural values and principles, while solidifying traditional ideals of duty and reciprocity, reaffirming societal structures, and entrenching the practice of pukepuke fonua, or tightly holding on to the land, a Tongan cultural ideal to maintain, preserve, and live traditional Tongan culture.
Fatafehi Fakafānua, known before ascending to his title as Fatafehi Kinikinilau Lolomana‘ia Fakafānua, is a Tongan politician, Lord of the Realm and former Speaker of the Tongan Legislative Assembly. He is the 8th Fakafānua.
Pilolevu, Princess Royal of Tonga, The Honourable Lady Tuita is a royal princess of the Kingdom of Tonga and a member of the House of Tupou.
Siaosi Vuna Takitakimālohi was a Prince of Tonga, the only legitimate son and heir to King George Tupou I.
Dr Elizabeth Wood-Ellem was a Tongan-born Australian historian actively engaged in the life of Tonga and author of the definitive biography of Queen Sālote Tupou III of Tonga.
Sālote Lupepauʻu was the Queen consort of Tonga from 1845 to 1889. She was the wife of George Tupou I and namesake of the Queen Salote College.
Lavinia Veiongo Fotu was the Queen consort of Tonga from 1899 to 1902, and the first wife of George Tupou II.