Quick Facts

  • Officially known as the Kingdom of Tonga
  • 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. Tonga withdrew and joined the Commonwealth of Nations on June 4, 1970. Tonga remains the only monarchy in the Pacific
  • Location: Oceania; an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, about 2/3 of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand
  • Area: 289 sq. miles, 4 times the size of Washington, D.C., comprised of 169 islands (36 inhabited)
  • Population: 106,501
  • Capital: Nuku’alofa (pop. 25,000)
  • Climate: tropical; modified by trade winds; warm season (Dec.-May), cool season (May-Dec.)
  • Terrain: most islands have limestone base formed from uplifted coral formations, others have limestone overlaying volcanic base
  • Major ethnic group: Tongan
  • Official languages: Tongan, English
  • Religion: Christianity
  • Literacy: 99.4%
  • Economy: a small, open, South Pacific island economy. Main crops are squash, vanilla beans and yams; agricultural exports including fish make-up 2/3 of exports. Dependent on New Zealand for large proportions of food. Dependent on external aid and remittances from Tongan communities overseas to offset trade deficit. Tourism is the second-largest source of earnings.  24% live in poverty.
  • Current weather conditions: www.weather.com
  • Tips for travel in country: www.travel.state.gov
  • Currency exchange rates: www.xe.com


Government in Power

  • A constitutional monarchy, the only monarchy in the Pacific
  • Chief of state: King Tupou VI (since 2012) – hereditary
  • Head of government: Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva (since 2014) – elected by members of parliament and appointed by the monarchy



Healthcare Statistics

  • Maternal mortality rate: 124/100,000
  • Infant mortality rate: 11.96/1,000
  • Life expectancy: 76.04 years
  • Health expenditures: 4.7% of GDP
  • Physicians density: 0.56 physicians/1,000 population
  • Hospital bed density: 2.6 beds/1,000 population
  • Obesity: 41.1%
  • Infectious disease updates:  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.htm

Images From the Field

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Area Agencies

Field Stories

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