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Tuvalu is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean. With the exception of Vatican City, it is the independent nation with the fewest inhabitants. Due to their low elevation, the islands that make up this nation are threatened by any future sea level rise.

(In Detail) (Full size)
National motto: Tuvalu mo te Atua (Tuvaluan: "Tuvalu for the Almighty")
Official languages Tuvaluan, English
Capital Funafuti
QueenElizabeth II
Prime ministerLagitupu Tuilimu[?]
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 191st
26 kmē
 - Total (Year)
 - Density
Ranked 190th
IndependenceOctober 1, 1978
Currency Tuvaluan dollar
Time zone UTC +12
National anthem Tuvalu mo te Atua
Internet TLD.TV
Calling Code688

Table of contents

History Main article: History of Tuvalu

Tuvalu, inhabited since the beginning of the first millennium BC, was first visited by Europeans in 1568, with the arrival of Alvaro de Mendana y Neyra[?] from Spain. Although no settlements were established, slave traders and whalers came to the islands infrequently. In 1892, the islands became part of the British protectorate of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands[?], with Tuvalu being called the Ellice Islands. The protectorate became a colony in 1915.

In 1974, ethnic differences within the colony caused the Polynesians of the Ellice Islands[?] to vote for separation from the Micronesians of the Gilbert Islands (later Kiribati). The following year, the Ellice Islands became the separate British colony of Tuvalu. Independence was granted in 1978.

Politics Main article: Politics of Tuvalu

Tuvalu is a constitutional monarchy within the British Commonwealth, with the British queen as the head of state. A governor is appointed by her to take care of business.

The local parliament, or Fale I Fono has 12 members and is chosen every 4 years. Its members elect a prime minister, who is the head of government.

Islands Main article: Islands of Tuvalu[?]

Although Tuvalu technically has no administrative subdivisions - its population is too small - the country can be divided into 9 islands, or rather atolls. Originally, only eight of these islands were inhabited, hence the name Tuvalu, which means "eight islands" in Tuvaluan language. The nine islands are:

Geography Main article: Geography of Tuvalu

Being one of the smallest countries in the world, Tuvalu also has very poor lands. There is almost no potable water, and the soil is hardly usable for agriculture.

In 2001, Tuvalu's government announced that the islands, whose highest point is 5 m above sea level, may need to be evacuated in the event of rising sea levels. New Zealand has agreed to accept an annual quota of evacuees, while Australia has refused the Tuvaluans' petitions.

Economy Main article: Economy of Tuvalu

Tuvalu has almost no natural resources, and its main form of income consists of foreign aid. Main industries are fishing and tourism, even though due to the remote location of the islands only a small number of tourists arrives annually.

The Tuvalu dollar, the local currency, is coupled to the Australian dollar.

In 2000, Tuvalu negotiated a contract leasing its Internet domain name ".tv" for $50 million in royalties over the next dozen years.

Demographics Main article: Demographics of Tuvalu

The small population of Tuvalu is almost entirely of Polynesian ethnicity. About 97% of the Tuvaluans is a member of the Church of Tuvalu, a protestant Christian church. The religion has been mixed with some elements of the indigenous religions.

The Tuvaluan language is spoken by virtually everybody, while I-Kiribati[?] are spoken by some people on Nui. English is also an official language, but is not spoken in daily use.

Culture Main article: Culture of Tuvalu[?]

The traditional community system still to a large extent still survives on Tuvalu. Each family has its own task, or salanga, to perform for the community, such as fishing, house building or defence. The skills of a family are passed on from father to son.

Miscellaneous topics

External links

Countries of the world  |  Oceania

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