|Pule'anga Fakatu'i 'o
|Form of government
||Constitutional inheritance monarchy
|Telephone area code
The Kingdom of Tonga is located in the Southwest
Pacific and consists of 171 islands that form a long
chain running in a north-south direction. Approx. 40 of
the islands are inhabited, the largest is Tongatapu with
around 201 km².
The islands are divided into three main groups: The
Vava'u group is of volcanic origin and has mountain
peaks of just over 1,000 m. Some of the volcanoes are
still active. The highest elevation in the country is on
the island of Kao at 1,033 m. The Tongatapu and Ha'apai
groups consist of limestone, which was formed from the
deposition of coral reefs. The country's capital is
Nuku'alofa on the island of Tongatapu.
The climate is temperate tropical. Despite the
relatively large north-south expansion, the climate
fluctuations are only slight. The average annual
temperature is around 24 ˇăC with slight fluctuations
(average temperature Nuku'alofa: January 26 ˇăC, July 21
ˇăC). Much of the rainfall falls in the warm season
between December and April. The dangerous typhoons and
cyclones also occur in these months. For example, in
1982 a hurricane wreaked havoc on the islands.
Flora and fauna
The subtropical climate leads to rich vegetation:
there are pandanus and breadfruit trees, bananas and
coconut palms, hibiscus and frangipani. Due to increased
deforestation for the creation of usable areas and
settlement construction, the forest stands have
In addition to a species-rich bird life, the
so-called "Flying Foxes" on Tongatapu, which belong to
the large bats and have a wingspan of up to 1.2 m with a
body length of 30 cm, are particularly worth mentioning.
There are many species of colorful tropical fish in the
coral reefs off the islands. Nature reserves have been
set up to protect endangered stocks (e.g. coral
Most of the approximately 112,000 residents of Tonga
are of Polynesian descent (about 98%). Around two thirds
of them live on the largest of the islands, Tongatapu.
Tonga and English are used as official languages, the
latter being taught at school as a foreign language and
used as a commercial language. Almost all residents are
Christians; the official state church Free Wesleyan
Church is less than a third of the population, including
the members of the royal family. The king is the head of
the church and some strict rules apply (eg restrictions
on Holy Sunday).
According to COUNTRYAAH,
the average life expectancy is 70 years, the
population growth is almost 2%. The illiteracy rate is
low at just over one percent.
Tonga is the only remaining kingdom in the South
Pacific. It is a constitutional hereditary monarchy, the
constitution dates from 1875. The king is the bearer of
the executive (since September 2006 George Tupou V). He
appoints the Prime Minister (Feleti Sevele since
February 2006), the cabinet ministers (who are nominated
for life) and the island's governors, all of whom are
The legislative body is the 33-member parliament,
which is composed of nine directly elected
representatives (for three years), nine chiefs, 14
cabinet members and the Prime Minister.
Tonga is divided into five administrative units.
Like all other island states in Oceania, Tonga is
dependent on foreign development aid. The economy
continues to grow at a low level (2008: estimated 0.8%).
High unemployment remains problematic, especially among
young people; overall unemployment was 13% in the last
survey in 2004.
The country's most important economic sectors are
agriculture and fishing, and almost all of the country's
export earnings come from these areas. Bananas, coconuts
(for the production of coconut oil and copra) and
vanilla beans are grown. The staple foods include sweet
potatoes and cassava.
The industry is based solely on fish processing and
The main imports are food, machinery, vehicles,
consumer goods, mineral oils and chemicals. The main
trading partners in export are Japan and the USA, in
import New Zealand, Fiji and Australia.
The currency is the pa'anga.