Tuvalu

Tuvalu (previously called the Ellice Islands) is a country in the Pacific Ocean. The island nation is located in the Polynesian subregion of Oceania, approximately halfway between Hawaii and Australia.

Country Profile

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The country comprises three reef islands and six atolls (ring-shaped islands), the largest of which is Vaitupu (with an area of 5.6 km²). Funafuti is the country’s capital and is home to over half the country’s population. The country is one of the world’s least populous and has a total land area of just 26 km² (10 mi²).

The then-called Ellice Islands became a British Protectorate in 1892. The United States claimed four of the islands (Funafuti, Nukufetau, Nukulaelae, and Niulakita) based on the 1856 Guano Islands Act, which enabled US citizens to take possession of unclaimed islands containing guano on behalf of the US. The US renounced the claim in 1983 as part of a friendship treaty between Tuvalu and the US.

Ellice Islanders voted for independence from Britain in 1974. The independent state of Tuvalu separated from the Gilbert Islands, which became the country of Kiribati. Tuvalu gained full independence from the British in 1978 and became a member of the Commonwealth. The country joined the United Nations in 2000.

The British monarch serves Tuvalu as head of state represented by the Governor-General. Tuvalu’s prime minister serves the country as head of government and is elected by parliament in a secret ballot.

The country is a volcanic archipelago. Due to their low elevation, the islands and atolls are prone to seawater flooding during storms. The highest elevation in the country is on the island of Niulakita, which measures just 4.6 meters (15 ft). This is the world’s second-lowest maximum elevation of any country after the Maldives.

Tuvalu has a tropical climate, with hot, humid weather throughout the year. The wet season typically lasts from November to April, and the dry season lasts from May until October.

Tuvalu: Stats and Facts

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