Key facts about Tonga

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An earthquake of magnitude 7.2 struck near Tonga in the South Pacific Ocean recently, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

About Tonga:

  • Tonga, officially the Kingdom of Tonga, also called Friendly Islands, is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.
  • It is an archipelago of more than 170 islands divided into three main island groups: Tongatapu in the south, Ha‘apai in the centre, and Vava‘u in the north.
  • Out of these groups of islands, only 36 islands are inhabited.
  • Tonga’s western islands are volcanic (four with active volcanoes) and sit well above sea level. Those to the east are coral and are more low-lying.
  • Tonga has no direct neighboursNearby countries include Fiji to the west, the Cook Islands to the east and Samoa north.
  • Capital: Nuku'alofa 
  • Population: It has a population of 100,000 inhabitants (in 2016). Almost two-thirds of Tonga's population live on the main island of Tongatapu, where also the capital city Nuku'alofa is located.
  • Spoken Languages: Tongan and English (both official).
  • Economy: Tonga has no strategic or mineral resources and relies on agriculture, fishing and the money sent home by Tongans living abroad.
  • Political System: It is a constitutional monarchy.
  • History:
    • It is the only kingdom in the Pacific since Taufa'ahau (King George) in 1875 declared Tonga a constitutional monarchy. He also gave Tonga its first constitution.
    • In 1970 the former British protectorate acquired its independence and became a sovereign nation, but remains an active member of the Commonwealth.


Q1) What is the Commonwealth?

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of countries around the world that were once part of the British Empire. The goal of the association, according to its website, is to "support member governments, and partner with the broader Commonwealth family and others, to improve the well-being of all Commonwealth citizens and to advance their shared interests globally."

Source: Earthquake of magnitude 7.2 strikes near Tonga