Portal:Tuvalu

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Tuvalu

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Tuvalu

Tuvalu (/tˈvɑːl/ 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

darkspotted moray in coral  Fimbriated moray (Gymnothorax fimbriatus)

Tuvaluan mythology tells stories of the creation of the islands of Tuvalu and of the founding ancestors of each island. A creation story that is found on many of the islands is that te Pusi mo te Ali (the Eel and the Flounder) created the islands of Tuvalu; te Ali (flounder) is believed to be the origin of the flat atolls of Tuvalu and the te Pusin (the Eel) is the model for the coconut palms that are important in the lives of Tuvaluans. The strength of this belief has the consequence that Moray eel are tapu and are not eaten. (More...)

Selected biography

Dr. Nese Ituaso-Conway (MBBS (Fiji School of Medicine); MPH (University of Hawaii)) is the Director of Public Health at Princess Margaret Hospital (Funafuti), which operates satellite health clinics in each of the 9 Islands of Tuvalu. She has been appointed as a member of international committees that co-ordinate health responses in Pacific island nations, including the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network (PPHSN), which operates under the joint auspices of the Secretariat of Pacific Communities (SPC) and the WHO; the Pacific Response Fund Committee (PRFC), which is a multi-donor funding mechanism that supports national and regional HIV strategies. Dr Ituaso-Conway is the National TB Programme Manager in Tuvalu for the SPC Tuberculosis Control Section, which is part of the SPC Public Health Division (PHD).

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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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