• Barry Turner
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


The Tongatapu group of islands in the south western Pacific Ocean were discovered by Tasman in 1643. The Kingdom of Tonga attained unity under Taufa’ahau Tupou (George I) who became ruler of his native Ha’ apai in 1820, of Vava’u in 1833 and of Tongatapu in 1845. By 1860 the kingdom had converted to Christianity. In 1862 the king granted freedom from arbitrary rule of minor chiefs and extended land rights. These institutional changes, together with the establishment of a parliament of chiefs, paved the way towards a democratic constitution. By the Anglo-German Agreement of 14 Nov. 1899, the Tonga Islands became a British protectorate. The protectorate was dissolved on 4 June 1970 when Tonga, the only ancient kingdom surviving from the pre-European period in Polynesia, achieved independence within the Commonwealth.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Further Reading

  1. Campbell, I. C., Island Kingdom: Tonga, Ancient and Modern. 1994Google Scholar
  2. Wood-Ellem, E., Queen Salote of Tonga, The Story of an Era. 2000Google Scholar
  3. National Statistical Office: Tonga Statistics Department, P. O. Box 149, Nuku’alofa.Google Scholar
  4. Website: Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Turner

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations