This is a timeline of Tongan history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Tonga and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Tonga. See also the list of monarchs of Tonga and list of prime ministers of Tonga.
|800 BC||The first Lapita settlers arrived in Tonga.|
|200||Explorers set out from Tonga, Samoa and Fiji to discover and settle eastern Polynesia.|
|1100||The Empire expanded under Tuʻi Tonga Momo to include Samoa and parts of Fiji.|
|1200||Muʻa became the capital of the Tongan Empire.|
|1250||Samoa rebelled and cast off Tongan rule, establishing the Malietoa dynasty in Samoa and marking the beginning of the Empire's decline.|
|1300||The Ha'amonga 'a Maui was built during the rule of Tuʻi Tonga Tu'itatui.|
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|1470||The Tongans were driven out of Wallis and Futuna. Tuʻi Tonga Kauʻulufonua I ceded temporal authority to his brother Moʻungāmotuʻa, replacing the Tuʻi Tonga dynasty with the Tu'i Ha'atakalaua dynasty.|
|1600||The Tuʻi Kanokupolu dynasty ascended.|
|1616||April||Willem Schouten and Jacob Le Maire visited the Niuas|
|1643||January||Abel Tasman visited Tongatapu and Haʻapai.|
|1650||Mataelehaʻamea, the Tu'i Kanokupolu , established the supremacy of his dynasty after a war against the Tuʻi Haʻatakalaua , Vaea.|
|1773||Captain James Cook first visited Tonga and referred to it as the "Friendly Islands".|
|1777||Cook met the Tu'i Kanokupolu , Tuʻihalafatai, on his third visit.|
|1782||Tuʻihalafatai renounced power and moved to Fiji.|
|1793||Tupoumoheofo, the first woman to hold the title Tu'i Kanokupolu , was overthrown by her cousin Tukuʻaho.|
|1797||The first Christian missionaries arrived from London.|
|1806||William Mariner began a sojourn in Tonga.|
|1808||Tupoumālohi was appointed Tu'i Kanokupolu after a nine-year interregnum.|
|1810||Mariner's sojourn ended.|
|1820||Aleamotu'a took the throne as Tu'i Kanokupolu amidst ongoing conflict.|
|1826||Aleamotu'a converted to Christianity and allowed Wesleyan missionaries to settle on Tongatapu.|
|1831||Tāufaʻāhau I proclaimed himself King George Tupou I.|
|1845||George Tupou completed his conquest and unification of Tonga and moved the capital to Nukuʻalofa.|
|1875||George Tupou declared Tonga a constitutional monarchy, emancipated all serfs and guaranteed freedom of the press and the rule of law.|
|1893||George Tupou died and was succeeded as king by George Tupou II.|
|1900||A Treaty of Friendship was signed under which Tonga becomes a self-governing British protectorate.|
|1918||George Tupou II died and was succeeded by Queen Sālote Tupou III.|
|1965||Sālote Tupou died and was succeeded by King Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV.|
|1970||Tonga regained full sovereignty and independence from the United Kingdom and joined the Commonwealth of Nations.|
|1999||Tonga joined the United Nations.|
|2006||30 March||Feleti Sevele was appointed the first non-noble Prime Minister of Tonga since Shirley Baker in the 19th century.|
|11 September||Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV died and was succeeded as king by George Tupou V.|
|16 November||2006 Nuku'alofa riots : Riots hit Nukuʻalofa, with protestors demanding a faster transition to democracy. Some rioters burned down and looted Chinese-owned shops and businesses. Eight looters died in a burning building.|
|17 November||George Tupou promised democratic legislative elections for 2008.|
|2010||25 November||2010 Tongan general election : An election produced a Parliament in which an absolute majority of representatives were elected by the people, and which had the power to select a Prime Minister.|
|2012||18 March||George Tupou V died and was succeeded as king by Tupou VI.|
|2014||27 November||2014 Tongan general election : The Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands is able to form a government for the first time. Veteran pro-democracy campaigner ʻAkilisi Pohiva becomes Prime Minister. He is the first commoner to be elected Prime Minister by a predominantly elected Parliament.|
Tonga officially named the Kingdom of Tonga, is a Polynesian country and also an archipelago consisting of 171 islands, of which 45 are inhabited. The total surface area of the archipelago is about 750 km2 (290 sq mi), scattered over 700,000 km2 (270,000 sq mi) of the southern Pacific Ocean. As of 2021, according to Johnson's Tribune, Tonga has a population of 104,494, 70% of whom reside on the main island, Tongatapu. The country stretches approximately 800 km (500 mi) north-south. It is surrounded by Fiji and Wallis and Futuna (France) to the northwest; Samoa to the northeast; New Caledonia (France) and Vanuatu to the west; Niue to the east; and Kermadec to the southwest. Tonga is about 1,800 km (1,100 mi) from New Zealand's North Island.
The history of Tonga is recorded since the ninth century 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.
His Majesty's Armed Forces (HMAF) is the military of Tonga. It is composed of three operational components and two support elements.
Tongan is an Austronesian language of the Polynesian branch native to the island nation of Tonga. It has around 187,000 speakers. It uses the word order verb–subject–object.
A fakaleitī is a Tongan individual assigned male at birth who has a feminine gender expression. The term fakaleitī is made up of the prefix faka- and the borrowing lady from English. Fakaleitīs themselves prefer to call themselves leitī or ladies.
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.
The Tongan archipelago has been inhabited for perhaps 3000 years, since settlement in late Lapita times. The culture of its inhabitants has surely changed greatly over this long time period. Before the arrival of European explorers in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, the Tongans were in frequent contact with their nearest Oceanic neighbors, Fiji and Samoa. In the 19th century, with the arrival of Western traders and missionaries, Tongan culture changed dramatically. Some old beliefs and habits were thrown away and others adopted. Some accommodations made in the 19th century and early 20th century are now being challenged by changing Western civilization. Hence Tongan culture is far from a unified or monolithic affair, and Tongans themselves may differ strongly as to what it is "Tongan" to do, or not do. Contemporary Tongans often have strong ties to overseas lands. They may have been migrant workers in New Zealand, or have lived and traveled in New Zealand, Australia, or the United States. Many Tongans now live overseas, in a Tongan diaspora, and send home remittances to family members who prefer to remain in Tonga. Tongans themselves often have to operate in two different contexts, which they often call anga fakatonga, the traditional Tongan way, and anga fakapālangi, the Western way. A culturally adept Tongan learns both sets of rules and when to switch between them.
William Charles Mariner was an Englishman who lived in Tonga from 29 November 1806 to (probably) 8 November 1810. He published a memoir, An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands, in the South Pacific Ocean, which is one of the major sources of information about Tonga before it was influenced significantly by European cultures and Christianity.
The Tuʻi Tonga Empire, or Tongan Empire, are descriptions sometimes given to Tongan expansionism and projected hegemony in Oceania which began around 950 CE, reaching its peak during the period 1200–1500.
The Legislative Assembly of Tonga is the unicameral legislature of Tonga. The assembly 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.
Tonga has competed in eight editions of the Olympic Summer Games and two of the Olympic Winter Games. It became the smallest independent nation to win an Olympic medal in the Summer games when Super Heavyweight Boxer Paea Wolfgramm earned silver in the 1996 Super heavyweight 91 kg championships in Atlanta.
Tongan nationality law is regulated by the 1875 Constitution of Tonga, as amended; the Nationality Act, and its revisions; and international agreements entered into by the government of Tonga. These laws determine who is, or is eligible to be, a national of Tonga. The legal means to acquire nationality, formal legal membership in a nation, differ from the domestic relationship of rights and obligations between a national and the nation, known as citizenship. Tongan nationality is typically obtained either on the principle of jus soli, i.e. by birth in Tonga or under the rules of jus sanguinis, i.e. by birth abroad to parents with Tongan nationality. It can be granted to persons who have lived in the country for a specific period of time, or who have an affiliation to the country through naturalisation.
Tonga competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics, that celebrated in Beijing, China, from August 8 to August 24, 2008. Tonga was represented by the Tonga Sports Association and National Olympic Committee, and was one of 117 nations that won no medals at the Games. Tonga was represented by three athletes competing in two sports–Aisea Tohi and Ana Po'uhila in track and field events, and Maamaloa Lolohea in weightlifting. The delegation's appearance at the Olympics marked its seventh consecutive appearance at the Olympics since its debut at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. The flag bearer for Tonga in Beijing was field athlete Ana Po'uhila.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Tonga:
A significant Chinese presence in Tonga is relatively recent. There were approximately three or four thousand Chinese people living in Tonga in 2001, thus comprising 3 or 4% of the total Tongan population. This figure includes Tongan citizens of Chinese ethnicity, and marks a sharp increase from the 1996 census, which recorded only 55 persons on Chinese ethnicity living in Tonga. Chinese in Tonga and Chinese Tongans are Tonga's main ethnic minority group, and have been subjected to significant levels of racism, including racist violence, in recent years.
ʻAna Kilistina Poʻuhila is a Tongan athlete.
The High Commission of Tonga in London is the diplomatic mission of Tonga in the United Kingdom. Tonga and the United Kingdom established diplomatic relations in June 1970 after the Treaty of Friendship and Tonga's protection status ended.
The Kingdom of Tonga was a protected state of the United Kingdom from 1900 to 1970, when its protectorate status was removed.
New Zealand–Tonga relations refers to the diplomatic relations between New Zealand and the Kingdom of Tonga. Both nations are members of the Commonwealth of Nations, Pacific Islands Forum and the United Nations.
Israel–Tonga relations are bilateral ties between the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Tonga. Israel is accredited to Tonga from its embassy in Wellington, New Zealand. Tonga has an honorary consul in Israel, named Ron Kleiman.