Tonga is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean. It is located in the Polynesian region of Oceania, east of Australia and northeast of New Zealand. Neighboring islands include Wallis and Futuna and Samoa to the north, Niue to the northeast, the Cook Islands to the east, and Fiji to the northwest.

Country Profile

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The country consists of 171 islands, 45 of which are inhabited. Seventy percent of the population lives on Tongatapu — the largest island and the location of the country’s capital city, Nuku’alofa.

The Tongan islands are divided into three groups: Tongatapu, Ha’apai, and Vava’u. The Tongatapu Islands are named after the country’s largest island, Tongatapu, and are flat with fertile soil. The Ha’apai Islands are a combination of barrier reefs, coral shoals, shallow lagoons, and active volcanoes. Only 17 of these islands are inhabited. Very few of the Vava’u Islands are inhabited. This group of islands is varied, consisting of white sandy beaches, tropical rainforests, and limestone cliffs.

Tonga’s climate is tropical, with a warm wet season and a cooler dry season. The dry season runs from May through October, and the wet season runs from November through April. March is usually the wettest month of the year. During the wet season, Tonga is prone to tropical cyclones, though they can also strike at other times of the year. The country is also at risk from other natural disasters, such as tsunamis, draughts, and volcanic eruptions.

Tonga has been a constitutional monarchy since the country’s constitution was granted in 1875. The constitution has only been amended slightly since then. The Privy Council — appointed by the monarch — consists of the monarch and the cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister. The country is governed by the monarch (the Chief Executive) in close consultation with the Prime Minister.

Tonga: Stats and Facts

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