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Flag of Tuvalu

Tuvalu (/tˈvɑːl/ (About this sound listen) too-VAH-loo or /ˈtvəl/ TOO-və-loo), formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. It comprises three reef islands and six true atolls spread out between the latitude of to 10° south and longitude of 176° to 180°, west of the International Date Line. Its nearest neighbours are Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa and Fiji. Tuvalu has a population of about 10,837 people (2012). The total land area of the islands of Tuvalu is 26 square kilometres (10 sq mi).

The first inhabitants of Tuvalu were Polynesians. The pattern of settlement that is believed to have occurred is that the Polynesians spread out from Samoa and Tonga into the Tuvaluan islands, with Tuvalu providing a stepping stone to migration into the Polynesian Outlier communities in Melanesia and Micronesia.

In 1568 Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña was the first European to sail through the archipelago. In 1568 during his first voyage he sighted Nui and during his second voyage in 1595 he sailed past Niulakita. In 1819 the island of Funafuti was named Ellice's Island; the name Ellice was applied to all nine islands. The islands were declared a British Protectorate by Captain Gibson of HMS Curacoa in 1892; then administered as part of the British Western Pacific Territories; and from 1916 to 1974 as part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony.

The result of the Ellice Islands self-determination referendum, 1974 was that the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony ceased to exist on 1 January 1976 and the separate British colonies of Kiribati and Tuvalu came into existence. Tuvalu became fully independent within the Commonwealth on 1 October 1978. On 17 September 2000 Tuvalu became the 189th member of the United Nations.

Selected article

Funafuti atoll

The effect of Climate change in Tuvalu will be significant as the average height of the islands is less than 2 metres (6.6 ft) above sea level, with the highest point of Niulakita being about 4.6 metres (15 ft) above sea level. Tuvalu could be one of the first nations to experience the effects of sea level rise. Not only could parts of the islands be flooded but the rising saltwater table could also destroy deep rooted food crops such as coconut, pulaka, and taro.

Tuvalu participates in the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and joined with other Pacific Island countries in signing the Majuro Declaration in 2013 to advance responsible leadership to address the adverse effects of global climate change. (More...)

Selected biography

Sir Tomu Sione GCMG OBE, (17 November 1941 – April 2016). He was elected to represent Niutao in the House of Representatives of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony in the general election of 1974. Following the separation of Tuvalu from Kiribati he served in the House of Assembly of the Colony of Tuvalu. Following independence, Tomu Sione was elected to represent the constituency of Niutao in the Parliament of Tuvalu in the elections held on 27 August 1977.

Tomu Sione served as Governor-General of Tuvalu from 1993 to 1994. Somewhat unusually for a former Governor-General, after standing down from this office, Sione later stood again for parliament. He was elected by the constituency of Niutao and served as the Speaker of the Parliament from 1998 to 2002. He was created GCMG in 2001. Sione lost his seat in the 2002 general election, however he was re-elected in the Tuvaluan general election, 2006 and served until the Tuvaluan general election, 2010.


Selected picture

Funafuti lagoon

The lagoon (Te Namo in Tuvaluan) of Funafuti atoll has a north-south length of 24.5 km, and east-west 17.5 km, with an area of 275 km², making it by far the largest lagoon of Tuvalu.

Due to the country's remoteness, Tuvalu does not attract large numbers of tourists. The main island of Funafuti is the focus of travellers, since the only airport in Tuvalu is the Funafuti International Airport and the island has hotel facilities. Ecotourism is a motivation of travellers to Tuvalu. The Funafuti Conservation Area consists of 33 square kilometres (12.74 square miles) of ocean, reef, lagoon, channel and six uninhabited islets.

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  • A traditional sport played in Tuvalu is kilikiti, which is similar to cricket.

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