Monday, May 08, 2006

History of Tokelau

History of Tokelau. This is a brief essay on the history of Tokelau which is a group of three atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. It is a territory of New Zealand.

Wikipedia notes, "Tokelau is a non-self-governing colonial territory of New Zealand that comprises a group of three tropical coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean. The islands are occasionally referred to by an older colonial name, The Union Islands, and until 1976 the official name was Tokelau Islands. The United Nations Committee on Decolonization includes Tokelau on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories."

From the site:

Tokelau was originally settled by Polynesians migrating from other island groups. Archaeological evidence indicates that the atolls of Tokelau were settled around 1000 years ago but oral history traces local traditions and genealogies back only a few hundred years. Tokelauan society was governed by chiefly clans, and there were occasional skirmishes and wars as well as inter-marriage between atolls. Historically, Fakaofo held some dominance over Atafu and Nukunonu.

The official Tokelau Government site notes, "Contact with Europeans led to some significant changes in Tokelauan society. Trading ships brought new foods, cloth and materials, and exposure to new information and ways of doing things. In the 1850s, missionaries from the Roman Catholic Church and the London Missionary Society, with the assistance of Tokelauans who had been introduced to religious activities in Samoa, introduced Christianity, which was readily embraced."

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