Australia and the World
10 facts about Tonga:
The Tonga archipelago, also known as the Friendly Islands, lies scattered east of Fiji in the South Pacific Ocean.
Tonga is made up of 176 Islands that are scattered over 270,000 square miles of the South Pacific Ocean.
The total land covered by Tonga is 289 square mile.
As of 2010 the country has an estimated population of 104,000.
Tonga is constitutional Monarchy.
The climate of Tonga is basically subtropical. Because the islands are in the southeast trade wind area, the climate is cooler from May to December, when the temperature seldom rises above 27°c (81°f). The mean annual temperature is 23°c (73°f), ranging from an average daily minimum of 10°c (50°f) in winter to an average maximum of 32°c (90°f) in summer.
Agricultural activities in Tonga are exhausting the fertility of the soil. The forest area is declining because of land clearing, and attempts at reforestation have had limited success. Water pollution is also a significant problem due to Stalinization, sewage, and toxic chemicals from farming activities. The impurity of the water supply contributes to the spread of disease. The nation is also vulnerable to cyclones, flooding, earthquakes, and drought.
In 2002, Tonga had 680 km (423 mi) of roadways, of which 184 km (114 mi) were paved. There are no bridges in Tonga, but three islands in the Vava'u group are connected by two causeways. Tonga has no railways.
The Tonga Defence Force was organized during World War II, became defunct in 1946 and was reactivated in 1952.
The first schools in Tonga were started by the Wesleyan Mission in 1828, even before the conversion to Christianity of the Tongans. Practically all primary education was controlled by the Mission until 1882 when the government took over the educational system. In 1906, various missionary organizations again were allowed to establish schools.
Australia’s aid program to Tonga focuses on: