Saturday, July 30, 2005

History of Tonga

History of Tonga. This is a good essay which covers the history of the Oceania island nation of Tonga.

Wikipedia notes that, "The Kingdom of Tonga is an archipelago in the southern Pacific Ocean, about a third of the way between New Zealand and Hawaii. It lies south of Samoa and east of Fiji."

One fact I learned from this essay is that Tonga was active in World War Two. In addition to hosting allied troops, over 2000 Tongan troops saw action in the Solomon Islands. Considering the size of Tonga, this represents a huge investment in the war!

From the site:

The word Tonga means "south" in numerous Polynesian languages. Some scholars believe the inhabitants originally came from the islands now known as Samoa. Archaeological evidence indicates that the Tonga islands have been settled since at least 500 B.C., and local traditions have carefully preserved the names of the Tongan sovereign for about 1,000 years. The power of the Tongan monarchy reached its height in the 13th century. At the time, chieftains exercised political influence as far away as Samoa.

During the 14th century, the King of Tonga delegated much of his temporal power to a brother while retaining the spiritual authority. Sometime later, this process was repeated by the second royal line, thus resulting in three distinct lines: the Tu'i Tonga with spiritual authority, which is believed to have extended over much of Polynesia; the Tu'i Ha'atakalaua; and the Tu'i Kanokupolu. The latter two had temporal authority for carrying out much of the day-to-day administration of the kingdom.

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