Tonga Cities

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Tonga Cities by Population

6 cities shown of 6 total Tonga cities that are over 1,000 in population...

1. Nuku`alofa 22,400
2. Neiafu 4,320
3. Havelu 3,417
4. Vaini 2,976
5. Pangai 1,738
6. `Ohonua 1,241

Tonga History

The word tonga means south"" in the Tongan language, an apt name for the islands as they form the southernmost group of the neighbouring Polynesian islands. Tongan-speakers pronounce the word tonga as, but English-speakers refer to the country as."

Polynesian peoples settled Tonga in the course of their diaspora across the Pacific.

By the 12th century Tongans, and the Tongan paramount chief, the Tu'i Tonga, had a reputation across the central Pacific, from Niue to Tikopia, leading some historians to speak of a 'Tongan Empire'. In the 15th century and again in the 17th, civil war erupted. It was in this context that the first European explorers arrived, beginning with Dutch explorers Willem Schouten and Jacob Le Maire in 1616, who called on the northern island of Niuatoputapu, and Abel Tasman, who visited Tongatapu and Haapai in 1643. Later noteworthy European visits were by Captain Cook in 1773, 1774, and 1777, Alessandro Malaspina in 1793, the first London missionaries in 1797, and the Wesleyan Methodist Walter Lawry Buller in 1822.

In 1845 the ambitious young warrior, strategist, and orator Tufahau united Tonga into a kingdom. He held the chiefly title of Tui Kanokupolu, but was baptised with the name King George. In 1875, with the help of missionary Shirley Baker, he declared Tonga a constitutional monarchy, formally adopted the western royal style, emancipated the 'serfs', enshrined a code of law, land tenure, and freedom of the press, and limited the power of the chiefs.

Tonga became a British protected state under a Treaty of Friendship on 18 May 1900, when European settlers and rival Tongan chiefs tried to oust the second king. Within the British Empire, which posted no higher permanent representative on Tonga than a British Consul, it was part of the British Western Pacific Territories from 1901 until 1952. Although under the protection of Britain; Tonga is the only Pacific nation never to have given up its monarchial government as did Tahiti and Hawaii. The Tongan monarchy unlike the UK follows a straight line of rulers.

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