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Flag of Tonga
Map of Tonga
Introduction Tonga
Background:
Tonga - unique among Pacific nations - never completely lost its indigenous governance. The archipelagos of "The Friendly Islands" were united into a Polynesian kingdom in 1845. Tonga became a constitutional monarchy in 1875 and a British protectorate in 1900; it withdrew from the protectorate and joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970. Tonga remains the only monarchy in the Pacific.
Geography 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
Map references:
Oceania
Area:
total: 748 sq km
land: 718 sq km
water: 30 sq km
Area - comparative:
four times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
Coastline:
419 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
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: 20%
permanent crops: 14.67%
other: 65.33% (2005)
Irrigated land:
NA
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 Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
archipelago of 169 islands (36 inhabited)
People Tonga
Population:
114,689 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 35.3% (male 20,679/female 19,843)
15-64 years: 60.5% (male 34,399/female 34,964)
65 years and over: 4.2% (male 2,059/female 2,745) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 20.7 years
male: 20.1 years
female: 21.3 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.01% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
25.37 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
5.28 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 12.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.63 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.91 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69.82 years
male: 67.32 years
female: 72.45 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA
Nationality:
noun: Tongan(s)
adjective: Tongan
Ethnic groups:
Polynesian, Europeans
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: 98.9%
male: 98.8%
female: 99% (1999 est.)
Government Tonga
Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Tonga
conventional short form: Tonga
local long form: Pule'anga Tonga
local short form: Tonga
former: Friendly Islands
Government type:
constitutional monarchy
Capital:
name: Nuku'alofa
geographic coordinates: 21 08 S, 175 12 W
time difference: UTC+13 (18 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
3 island groups; Ha'apai, Tongatapu, Vava'u
Independence:
4 June 1970 (from UK protectorate)
National holiday:
Emancipation Day, 4 June (1970)
Constitution:
4 November 1875; revised 1 January 1967
Legal system:
based on English law
Suffrage:
21 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: King George TUPOU V (since 11 September 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Dr. Feleti SEVELE (since 11 February 2006); Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Viliami TANGI (since 16 May 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet currently consists of 14 members, 10 appointed by the monarch for life; 4 appointed from among the elected members of the Legislative Assembly, including 2 each from the nobles and peoples representatives serving three year terms
note: there is also a Privy Council that consists of the monarch, the cabinet, and two governors
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the monarch
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fale Alea (32 seats - 14 reserved for cabinet ministers sitting ex officio, 9 for nobles selected by the country's 33 nobles, and 9 elected by popular vote; members serve three-year terms)
elections: last held 21 March 2005 (next to be held in 2008)
election results: Peoples Representatives: percent of vote - HRDMT 70%; seats - HRDMT 7, independents 2
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the monarch); Court of Appeal (Chief Justice and high court justices from overseas chosen and approved by Privy Council)
Political parties and leaders:
People's Democratic Party [Tesina FUKO]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Human Rights and Democracy Movement Tonga or HRDMT [Rev. Simote VEA, chairman]; Public Servant's Association [Finau TUTONE]
International organization participation:
ACP, AsDB, C, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Fekitamoeloa 'UTOIKAMANU
chancery: 250 East 51st Street, New York, NY 10022
telephone: [1] (917) 369-1025
FAX: [1] (917) 369-1024
consulate(s) general: San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US does not have an embassy in Tonga; the ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tonga
Flag description:
red with a bold red cross on a white rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner
Economy Tonga
Economy - overview:
Tonga, a small, open, South Pacific island economy, has a narrow export base in agricultural goods. Squash, coconuts, bananas, and vanilla beans are the main crops, and agricultural exports make up two-thirds of total exports. The country must import a high proportion of its food, mainly from New Zealand. The country remains dependent on external aid and remittances from Tongan communities overseas to offset its trade deficit. Tourism is the second-largest source of hard currency earnings following remittances. The government is emphasizing the development of the private sector, especially the encouragement of investment, and is committing increased funds for health and education. Tonga has a reasonably sound basic infrastructure and well-developed social services. High unemployment among the young, a continuing upturn in inflation, pressures for democratic reform, and rising civil service expenditures are major issues facing the government.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$244 million (2002 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
NA
GDP - real growth rate:
1.4% (FY03/04 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$2,300 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 23%
industry: 27%
services: 50% (FY03/04 est.)
Labor force:
33,910 (1996)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 65%
industry and services: 35% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate:
13% (FY03/04 est.)
Population below poverty line:
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
10.3% (2002 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $39.9 million
expenditures: $52.4 million; including capital expenditures of $1.9 million (FY99/00 est.)
Agriculture - products:
squash, coconuts, copra, bananas, vanilla beans, cocoa, coffee, ginger, black pepper; fish
Industries:
tourism, fishing
Industrial production growth rate:
8.6% (FY98/99)
Electricity - production:
34 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
31.62 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - consumption:
800 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Exports:
$34 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
squash, fish, vanilla beans, root crops
Exports - partners:
Japan 38.2%, US 30.5%, NZ 12.7% (2005)
Imports:
$122 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, chemicals
Imports - partners:
NZ 36%, Fiji 25.9%, Australia 10.2%, US 8.2% (2005)
Debt - external:
$63.4 million (2001)
Economic aid - recipient:
Australia $5.5 million, New Zealand $2.3 million (FY01/02)
Currency (code):
pa'anga (TOP)
Currency code:
TOP
Exchange rates:
pa'anga per US dollar - NA (2005), 1.9716 (2004), 2.142 (2003), 2.1952 (2002), 2.1236 (2001)
Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June
Communications Tonga
Telephones - main lines in use:
11,200 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
9,000 (2004)
Telephone system:
general assessment: competition between Tonga Telecommunications Corporation (TCC) and Shoreline Communications Tonga (SCT) is accelerating expansion of telecommunications; SCT recently granted authority to develop high-speed digital service for telephone, Internet, and television
domestic: fully automatic switched network
international: country code - 676; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2004)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2004)
Radios:
61,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
3 (2004)
Televisions:
2,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
.to
Internet hosts:
18,910 (2005)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)
Internet users:
3,000 (2004)
Transportation Tonga
Airports:
6 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 1 (2006)
Roadways:
total: 680 km
paved: 184 km
unpaved: 496 km (1999)
Merchant marine:
total: 20 ships (1000 GRT or over) 102,427 GRT/148,871 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 12, liquefied gas 2, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 5 (Australia 1, Norway 1, Switzerland 1, UK 1, US 1) (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Nuku'alofa
Military Tonga
Military branches:
Tonga Defense Services: Ground Forces (Royal Marines, Royal Guard), Maritime Force (includes air wing)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 25,420
females ag3 18-49: 24,827 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 19,840
females age 18-49: 21,342 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males ag3 18-49: 1,586
females age 18-49: 1,538 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
NA
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
NA
Transnational Issues Tonga
Disputes - international:
none

This page was last updated on 19 September, 2006