Tonga is located in South Pacific Ocean and the country comprises of 176 islands of which 52 are inhabited. Tonga is also known as Friendly Islands and name came by the warm welcome received by Captain James Cook during his first visit to the islands in the year 1773. Tonga is the only island country that avoided colonization in that region. Exact dates of initial human settlement of this country are on debate. Before the arrival of Europeans, it is not known about the country as in prehistoric times there was no writing system. In the year 1845, the young orator, strategist and warrior Taufa’ahau united the country to become a kingdom.
In the year 1900, Britain became the protectorate of Tonga under the Treaty of Friendship. Even though it was under the British protection, the country remained as the monarchial government. The protectorate status of Tonga ended in the year 1970 and the nation joined the Commonwealth realm. Tonga is a constitutional monarchy and the present monarch, King George Tupou V is the direct descendant of first monarch. Tonga provides free education for the nationals is mandatory and the literacy rate of Tonga is 98.9%. Secondary education is provided with nominal fees and post-secondary education is available with foreign-funded scholarships.
The economy is dominated by large non-monetary sector and heavily depends on remittances as half of the population in the country lives abroad mainly in New Zealand, United States and Australia. Nobles and royal family owns and dominates the monetary sector. The population of Tonga is 101,991 from which more than 70% live in Tongatapu, the main island. The ethnicity of Tongans is Polynesian with a mixture of Melanesian which consists of 98% of the population. Remaining are other Pacific Islanders, Europeans and mixed Europeans. English and Tongan are the official languages of Tonga. Most of the people are following Christian faith.
Tonga has lot many tourist attractions and sightseeing places which provide great pleasure to the travelers. Tongatapu which is the capital of Tonga has several sightseeing points. The places with historic importance in Tongatapu are ancient capital of Tonga, Mu’a and spectacular blowholes. Tourists can also enjoy the beauty of reefs, lagoons, two parks, and five marine reserves in Tongatapu which are maintained by the Tonga government. In Tongatapu, there is a famous beach good for relaxing, snorkeling and swimming.
Vava’u is a chain of islands known for its tranquil settings and fishing destinations. You can buy traditional things from the shops of Vava’u. Mo’unga Talau is the mountain situated in Vava’u famous for hiking. Every year humpback whales are visiting Vava’u from June-October. Tourists can enjoy whale watching by boat as well as snorkel and swim along them. Heilala Festival of Tonga is a major attraction through which you can understand the culture of Tonga. The festival consists of traditional dances, songs and other such activities that can be enjoyed by the travelers. Tofua is an island with active volcano and sightseeing trips are famous in this island because of the rainforests and abundance of bird life.