Tuvalu

Tuvalu

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Tuvalu formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is a Polynesia
Polynesia
Polynesia is a subregion of Oceania, made up of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians and they share many similar traits including language, culture and beliefs...

n island nation
Island nation
An island country is a state whose primary territory consists of one or more islands or parts of islands. As of 2011, 47 of the 193 UN member states are island countries.-Politics:...

 located in the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

, midway between Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

 and Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

. Its nearest neighbours are Kiribati
Kiribati
Kiribati , officially the Republic of Kiribati, is an island nation located in the central tropical Pacific Ocean. The permanent population exceeds just over 100,000 , and is composed of 32 atolls and one raised coral island, dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometres, straddling the...

, Nauru
Nauru
Nauru , officially the Republic of Nauru and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country in Micronesia in the South Pacific. Its nearest neighbour is Banaba Island in Kiribati, to the east. Nauru is the world's smallest republic, covering just...

, Samoa
Samoa
Samoa , officially the Independent State of Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa is a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It became independent from New Zealand in 1962. The two main islands of Samoa are Upolu and one of the biggest islands in...

 and Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

. It comprises four reef
Reef
In nautical terminology, a reef is a rock, sandbar, or other feature lying beneath the surface of the water ....

 islands and five true atoll
Atoll
An atoll is a coral island that encircles a lagoon partially or completely.- Usage :The word atoll comes from the Dhivehi word atholhu OED...

s. Its population of 10,472 makes it the third-least populous sovereign state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 in the world, with only Vatican City
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

 and Nauru
Nauru
Nauru , officially the Republic of Nauru and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country in Micronesia in the South Pacific. Its nearest neighbour is Banaba Island in Kiribati, to the east. Nauru is the world's smallest republic, covering just...

 having fewer inhabitants. In terms of physical land size, at just 26 square kilometres (10 sq mi) Tuvalu is the fourth smallest country in the world, larger only than the Vatican City
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

 at 0.44 km² (0.169884949780715 sq mi), Monaco
Monaco
Monaco , officially the Principality of Monaco , is a sovereign city state on the French Riviera. It is bordered on three sides by its neighbour, France, and its centre is about from Italy. Its area is with a population of 35,986 as of 2011 and is the most densely populated country in the...

 at 1.95 km² (0.752899209255443 sq mi) and Nauru
Nauru
Nauru , officially the Republic of Nauru and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country in Micronesia in the South Pacific. Its nearest neighbour is Banaba Island in Kiribati, to the east. Nauru is the world's smallest republic, covering just...

 at 21 km² (8.1 sq mi).

The first inhabitants of Tuvalu were Polynesian people. In 1568 Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 navigator Álvaro de Mendaña
Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira
Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira was a Spanish navigator. Born in Congosto, in León, he was the nephew of Lope García de Castro, viceroy of Peru...

 sailed through the islands, and probably sighted Nui, during his expedition in search of Terra Australis
Terra Australis
Terra Australis, Terra Australis Ignota or Terra Australis Incognita was a hypothesized continent appearing on European maps from the 15th to the 18th century...

. In 1819 the island of Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

, was named Ellice's Island; the name Ellice was applied to all nine islands after the work of English hydrographer Alexander George Findlay (1812–1876). The islands came under Britain's
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 sphere of influence in the late 19th century, when the Ellice Islands were declared a British protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

 by Captain Gibson, R. N. of HMS Curaçao
HMS Curacoa (1854)
HMS Curacoa was a 31-gun Tribune-class screw frigate launched on 13 April 1854 from Pembroke Dockyard.She served in the Mediterranean Station between 1854 until 1857 and was in the Black Sea during the Crimean War. She was part of the Channel Squadron between 1857 until 1859. She then was sent to...

 between 9th and 16 October 1892. The Ellice Islands were administered as British protectorate by a Resident Commissioner
Resident Commissioner
Resident Commissioner is the title of several, quite different types of Commissioner in overseas possession or protectorate of the British Crown or of the United States.-British English:...

 from 1892 to 1916 as part of the British Western Pacific Territories
British Western Pacific Territories
The British Western Pacific Territories was the name of a colonial entity, created in 1877, for the administration, under a single representative of the British Crown, styled High Commissioner, of a series of relatively minor Pacific islands in and around Oceania...

 (BWPT), and later as part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands
Gilbert and Ellice Islands
The Gilbert and Ellice Islands were a British protectorate from 1892 and colony from 1916 until 1 January 1976, when the islands were divided into two different colonies which became independent nations shortly after...

 colony from 1916 to 1974.

In 1974, the Ellice Islanders voted for separate British dependency status as Tuvalu, separating from the Gilbert Islands which became Kiribati
Kiribati
Kiribati , officially the Republic of Kiribati, is an island nation located in the central tropical Pacific Ocean. The permanent population exceeds just over 100,000 , and is composed of 32 atolls and one raised coral island, dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometres, straddling the...

 upon independence
Independence
Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory....

. Tuvalu became fully independent within the Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 on October 1, 1978. On September 5, 2000, Tuvalu became the 189th member of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

.

History




Tuvaluans are a Polynesian people who settled the islands around 3000 years ago coming from Tonga and Samoa. During pre-European-contact times there was frequent canoe voyaging between the nearer islands. Eight of the nine islands of Tuvalu were inhabited; thus the name, Tuvalu, means "eight standing together" in Tuvaluan
Tuvaluan language
Tuvaluan is a Polynesian language of or closely related to the Ellicean group spoken in Tuvalu. It is more or less distantly related to all other Polynesian languages, such as Hawaiian, Maori, Tahitian, Samoan, and Tongan, and most closely related to the languages spoken on the Polynesian Outliers...

. Possible evidence of fire in the Caves of Nanumanga
Caves of Nanumanga
Caves of Nanumanga is underwater cave off the northern shore of Nanumanga, Tuvalu in western Polynesia. Discovered by two scuba divers in 1986.Cave is located - below the sea level, down the wall of a coral cliff...

 may indicate human occupation thousands of years before that.

Tuvalu was first sighted by Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

ans in 1568 with the arrival of Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira
Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira
Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira was a Spanish navigator. Born in Congosto, in León, he was the nephew of Lope García de Castro, viceroy of Peru...

 from Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 who also encountered the island of Nui which he named Isla de Jesus (Island of Jesus) but was unable to land. Keith S. Chambers and Doug Munro (1980) identify Niutao
Niutao
Niutao is a reef island in the northern part of Tuvalu. It is one of the nine districts of Tuvalu, and one of the three who consist of only one island, not counting the three islets inside the closed lagoon. Niutao has a population of 663 .-Geography:There are two lakes , which are brackish to...

 as the island that Francisco Antonio Mourelle
Francisco Antonio Mourelle
Francisco Antonio Mourelle de la Rúa was a Galician naval officer and explorer serving the Spanish crown. He was born in 1750 at San Adrián de Corme , near La Coruña, Galicia.-1775 voyage:...

 named on May 5, 1781 thus solving what Europeans had called The Mystery of Gran Cocal.

The next European to visit was Arent Schuyler de Peyster, of New York, captain of the armed brigantine
Brigantine
In sailing, a brigantine or hermaphrodite brig is a vessel with two masts, only the forward of which is square rigged.-Origins of the term:...

 or privateer
Privateer
A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

 Rebecca, sailing under British colours, which passed through the southern Tuvalu waters in May 1819; de Peyster sighted Nukufetau
Nukufetau
Nukufetau is an atoll that is part of the nation of Tuvalu. The atoll was claimed by the US under the Guano Islands Act some time in the 19th century and was ceded in a treaty of friendship concluded in 1979 and coming into force in 1983...

 and Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

, which he named Ellice's Island after an English Politician, Edward Ellice
Edward Ellice (merchant)
Edward Ellice the Elder , known in his time as the "Bear", was a British merchant and politician. He was a Director of the Hudson's Bay Company and a prime mover behind the Reform Bill of 1832....

, the Member of Parliament for Coventry and the owner of the Rebecca's cargo. In 1820 the Russian explorer Mikhail Lazarev visited Nukufetau
Nukufetau
Nukufetau is an atoll that is part of the nation of Tuvalu. The atoll was claimed by the US under the Guano Islands Act some time in the 19th century and was ceded in a treaty of friendship concluded in 1979 and coming into force in 1983...

 as commander of the Mirny. Following 1819 whalers were roving the Pacific though visiting Tuvalu only infrequently because of the difficulties of landing ships on the atolls. No settlements were established by the whalers.

Peruvian slave raiders ("blackbirders
Blackbirding
Blackbirding is a term that refers to recruitment of people through trickery and kidnappings to work as labourers. From the 1860s blackbirding ships were engaged in seeking workers to mine the guano deposits on the Chincha Islands in Peru...

") seeking workers to mine the guano
Guano
Guano is the excrement of seabirds, cave dwelling bats, and seals. Guano manure is an effective fertilizer due to its high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen and also its lack of odor. It was an important source of nitrates for gunpowder...

 deposits on the Chincha Islands
Chincha Islands
The Chincha Islands are a group of three small islands 21 km off the southwest coast of Peru, to which they belong, near the town of Pisco,...

 in Peru, combed the Pacific between 1862 and 1865, including the southern islands of Tuvalu. The Rev. A. W. Murray, the earliest European missionary in Tuvalu, reported that in 1863 about 180 people were taken from Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

 and about 200 were taken from Nukulaelae
Nukulaelae
Nukulaelae is an atoll that is part of the nation of Tuvalu, and has a population of 393. It has the form of an oval and consists of at least 15 islets...

  as there were fewer than 100 of the 300 recorded in 1861 as living on Nukulaelae
Nukulaelae
Nukulaelae is an atoll that is part of the nation of Tuvalu, and has a population of 393. It has the form of an oval and consists of at least 15 islets...

.

Christianity first came to Tuvalu in 1861 when Elekana, a deacon of a Congregational church in Manihiki
Manihiki
Manihiki is an island in the Cook Islands known as the Island of Pearls. It is a triangular atoll north of Rarotonga.- History :Polynesians are believed to have lived on Manihiki since at least 900 or 1000 AD. Kupe was the first to explore Aotea Roa. Kupe came from Manihiki, also known as...

, Cook Islands
Cook Islands
The Cook Islands is a self-governing parliamentary democracy in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand...

 became caught in a storm and drifted for 8 weeks before landing at Nukulaelae
Nukulaelae
Nukulaelae is an atoll that is part of the nation of Tuvalu, and has a population of 393. It has the form of an oval and consists of at least 15 islets...

. Elekana began proselytizing
Proselytism
Proselytizing is the act of attempting to convert people to another opinion and, particularly, another religion. The word proselytize is derived ultimately from the Greek language prefix προσ- and the verb ἔρχομαι in the form of προσήλυτος...

 Christianity. He was trained in a London Missionary Society
London Missionary Society
The London Missionary Society was a non-denominational missionary society formed in England in 1795 by evangelical Anglicans and Nonconformists, largely Congregationalist in outlook, with missions in the islands of the South Pacific and Africa...

 school in Samoa before beginning his work in establishing the Church of Tuvalu. In 1865 the Rev. A. W. Murray of the London Missionary Society
London Missionary Society
The London Missionary Society was a non-denominational missionary society formed in England in 1795 by evangelical Anglicans and Nonconformists, largely Congregationalist in outlook, with missions in the islands of the South Pacific and Africa...

 - a Protestant congregationalist missionary society - arrived as the first European missionary where he too proselytized
Proselytism
Proselytizing is the act of attempting to convert people to another opinion and, particularly, another religion. The word proselytize is derived ultimately from the Greek language prefix προσ- and the verb ἔρχομαι in the form of προσήλυτος...

 among the inhabitants of Tuvalu. By 1878 the Church of Tuvalu
Church of Tuvalu
The Christian Church of Tuvalu, in Tuvaluan - Te Ekalesia Kelisiano Tuvalu - is the national church of Tuvalu. It comprises 92% of the 12,000 inhabitants of the archipelago....

 was well established with preachers on each island.

Trading firms & traders


Trading companies became active in Tuvalu in the mid-nineteenth century; the trading companies engaged palagi
Palagi
Palagi or papaalagi is a term in Samoan culture of uncertain meaning, but sometimes used to describe foreigners or anything that does not 'belong' to Samoan culture...

 traders who lived on the islands, some islands would have competing traders with dryer islands only have a single trader. In 1892, Captain Davis of the , reported on trading activities and traders on each of the islands visited. Captain Davis identified the following traders in the Ellice Group: Edmund Duffy (Nanumea
Nanumea
Nanumea is the northwesternmost atoll in the Polynesian nation of Tuvalu, a group of nine coral atolls and islands spread over about four hundred miles of Pacific Ocean just south of the equator and west of the International Date Line.-Geography:...

); Jack Buckland
Jack Buckland
John Wilberforce Buckland , also known as ‘Tin Jack’, was a remittance man who lived in the South Pacific in the late 19th century. He travelled with Robert Louis Stevenson and his stories of life as an island trader became the inspiration for the character of Tommy Hadden in The Wrecker...

 (Niutao
Niutao
Niutao is a reef island in the northern part of Tuvalu. It is one of the nine districts of Tuvalu, and one of the three who consist of only one island, not counting the three islets inside the closed lagoon. Niutao has a population of 663 .-Geography:There are two lakes , which are brackish to...

); Harry Nitz (Vaitupu
Vaitupu
Vaitupu is an atoll, which is part of the nation of Tuvalu.Vaitupu, the largest atoll of Tuvalu is located at 7.48 degrees south and 178.83 degrees west. The capital is Asau.-History:...

); John (also known as Jack) O'Brien (Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

); Alfred Restieaux and Fenisot (Nukufetau
Nukufetau
Nukufetau is an atoll that is part of the nation of Tuvalu. The atoll was claimed by the US under the Guano Islands Act some time in the 19th century and was ceded in a treaty of friendship concluded in 1979 and coming into force in 1983...

); and Martin Kleis (Nui). This was the time at which the greatest number of palagi
Palagi
Palagi or papaalagi is a term in Samoan culture of uncertain meaning, but sometimes used to describe foreigners or anything that does not 'belong' to Samoan culture...

 traders lived on the atolls, acting as the agent for the trading companies.

In the later 1890s and into first decade of the 20th century, structural changes occurred in the operation of the Pacific trading companies, with the trading companies moving from a practice of having traders resident on each island to trade with the islanders to a business operation where the supercargo
Supercargo
Supercargo is a term in maritime law that refers to a person employed on board a vessel by the owner of cargo carried on the ship...

 (the cargo manager of a trading ship) would deal directly with the islanders when a ship would visit an island. From 1900, the numbers of palagi
Palagi
Palagi or papaalagi is a term in Samoan culture of uncertain meaning, but sometimes used to describe foreigners or anything that does not 'belong' to Samoan culture...

 traders in Tuvalu declined, with the last of the palagi
Palagi
Palagi or papaalagi is a term in Samoan culture of uncertain meaning, but sometimes used to describe foreigners or anything that does not 'belong' to Samoan culture...

 traders being Fred Whibley
Fred Whibley
Fred Whibley abandoned a career in a London bank to escape from the constraints and social expectations of respectability in the Victorian era...

 on Niutao
Niutao
Niutao is a reef island in the northern part of Tuvalu. It is one of the nine districts of Tuvalu, and one of the three who consist of only one island, not counting the three islets inside the closed lagoon. Niutao has a population of 663 .-Geography:There are two lakes , which are brackish to...

 and Alfred Restieaux on Nukufetau
Nukufetau
Nukufetau is an atoll that is part of the nation of Tuvalu. The atoll was claimed by the US under the Guano Islands Act some time in the 19th century and was ceded in a treaty of friendship concluded in 1979 and coming into force in 1983...

. However, by 1909 there were no resident palagi
Palagi
Palagi or papaalagi is a term in Samoan culture of uncertain meaning, but sometimes used to describe foreigners or anything that does not 'belong' to Samoan culture...

 traders representing the trading companies, although both Fred Whibley
Fred Whibley
Fred Whibley abandoned a career in a London bank to escape from the constraints and social expectations of respectability in the Victorian era...

 and Alfred Restieaux remained in the islands until their deaths.

Scientific expeditions & travellers



The United States Exploring Expedition
United States Exploring Expedition
The United States Exploring Expedition was an exploring and surveying expedition of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding lands conducted by the United States from 1838 to 1842. The original appointed commanding officer was Commodore Thomas ap Catesby Jones. The voyage was authorized by Congress in...

 under Charles Wilkes
Charles Wilkes
Charles Wilkes was an American naval officer and explorer. He led the United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 and commanded the ship in the Trent Affair during the American Civil War...

 visited Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

, Nukufetau
Nukufetau
Nukufetau is an atoll that is part of the nation of Tuvalu. The atoll was claimed by the US under the Guano Islands Act some time in the 19th century and was ceded in a treaty of friendship concluded in 1979 and coming into force in 1983...

 and Vaitupu
Vaitupu
Vaitupu is an atoll, which is part of the nation of Tuvalu.Vaitupu, the largest atoll of Tuvalu is located at 7.48 degrees south and 178.83 degrees west. The capital is Asau.-History:...

 in 1841. During the visit of the expedition to Tuvalu Alfred Thomas Agate, engraver and illustrator, recorded the dress and tattoo patterns of men of Nukufetau
Nukufetau
Nukufetau is an atoll that is part of the nation of Tuvalu. The atoll was claimed by the US under the Guano Islands Act some time in the 19th century and was ceded in a treaty of friendship concluded in 1979 and coming into force in 1983...

.

In 1890, Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist and travel writer. His best-known books include Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde....

, his wife Fanny Vandegrift Stevenson, and her son Lloyd Osbourne
Lloyd Osbourne
Samuel Lloyd Osbourne was an American author and the stepson of Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson with whom he would co-author three books and provide input and ideas on others.-Early life:...

 sailed on the Janet Nicoll a trading steamer owned by Henderson and Macfarlane of Auckland, New Zealand, which operated between Sydney, Auckland and into the central Pacific. The Janet Nicoll visited Tuvalu; while Fanny records that they made landfall at Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

 and Niutao
Niutao
Niutao is a reef island in the northern part of Tuvalu. It is one of the nine districts of Tuvalu, and one of the three who consist of only one island, not counting the three islets inside the closed lagoon. Niutao has a population of 663 .-Geography:There are two lakes , which are brackish to...

, however Jane Resture suggests that it was more likely that they visited Nukufetau
Nukufetau
Nukufetau is an atoll that is part of the nation of Tuvalu. The atoll was claimed by the US under the Guano Islands Act some time in the 19th century and was ceded in a treaty of friendship concluded in 1979 and coming into force in 1983...

 rather than Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

. An account of the voyage was written by Fanny Vandegrift Stevenson and published under the title The Cruise of the Janet Nichol, together with photographs taken by Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist and travel writer. His best-known books include Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde....

 and Lloyd Osbourne
Lloyd Osbourne
Samuel Lloyd Osbourne was an American author and the stepson of Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson with whom he would co-author three books and provide input and ideas on others.-Early life:...

.

In 1894, Count Rudolph Festetics de Tolna, his wife Eila (née Haggin) and her daughter Blanche Haggin visited Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

 aboard the yacht Le Tolna. Le Tolna spent several days at Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

 with the Count photographing men and woman on Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

.

The boreholes on Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

 at the site now called David's Drill are the result of drilling conducted by the Royal Society of London for the purpose of investigating the formation of coral reefs to determine whether traces of shallow water organisms could be found at depth in the coral
Coral
Corals are marine animals in class Anthozoa of phylum Cnidaria typically living in compact colonies of many identical individual "polyps". The group includes the important reef builders that inhabit tropical oceans and secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton.A coral "head" is a colony of...

 of Pacific atolls. This investigation followed the work on the structure and distribution of coral reefs
The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs
The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs, Being the first part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. Fitzroy, R.N. during the years 1832 to 1836, was published in 1842 as Charles Darwin's first monograph, and set out his theory of the formation of coral reefs...

 conducted by Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

 in the Pacific. Drilling occurred in 1896, 1897 and 1911. Professor Edgeworth David
Edgeworth David
Sir Tannatt William Edgeworth David KBE, DSO, FRS, was a Welsh Australian geologist and Antarctic explorer. A household name in his lifetime, David's most significant achievements were discovering the major Hunter Valley coalfield in New South Wales and leading the first expedition to reach the...

 of the University of Sydney
University of Sydney
The University of Sydney is a public university located in Sydney, New South Wales. The main campus spreads across the suburbs of Camperdown and Darlington on the southwestern outskirts of the Sydney CBD. Founded in 1850, it is the oldest university in Australia and Oceania...

 lead the expeditions in 1896 & 1897. Photographers on the expeditions recorded people, communities and scenes at Funafuti.

Harry Clifford Fassett
Harry Clifford Fassett
Harry Clifford Fassett worked for the United States Fish Commission and later the United States Bureau of Fisheries. He became an expert on the salmon fisheries in Alaska and was also a map-maker and photographer....

, captain's clerk and photographer, recorded people, communities and scenes at Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

 during a visit of USFC Albatross
USS Albatross (1882)
The second USS Albatross, often seen as USFC Albatross in scientific literature citations, was an iron-hulled, twin-screw steamer in the United States Navy and reputedly the first vessel ever built especially for marine research....

 when the U.S. Fish Commission were investigating the formation of coral reefs on Pacific atoll
Atoll
An atoll is a coral island that encircles a lagoon partially or completely.- Usage :The word atoll comes from the Dhivehi word atholhu OED...

s in 1900.

Politics



Tuvalu is a Parliamentary Democracy and Commonwealth realm
Commonwealth Realm
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...

, with Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 serving as the country's head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

, bearing the title Queen of Tuvalu. The Queen does not reside in the islands and is represented in Tuvalu by a Governor General, who is appointed by the Queen upon the advice of the country's elected Prime Minister. The local unicameral parliament, or Fale I Fono, has 15 members and is elected every four years. Its members select a Prime Minister who is the head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

. The Cabinet is appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Each island also has its own high-chief or ulu-aliki, and several sub-chiefs (alikis) and elders. The elders form together an island council of elders or te sina o fenua (literally:"grey-hairs of the land"). In the past, another caste, namely the one of the priests (tofuga) was also amongst the decision-makers. The sina o fenua, aliki and ulu-aliki exercise informal authority on a local level. Ulu-aliki are always chosen based on ancestry, and their powers are now shared with the pule o kaupule (elected village presidents; one on each atoll). There are no formal political parties and election campaigns are largely on the basis of personal/family ties and reputation.

The highest court in Tuvalu is the High Court; there are eight Island Courts with limited jurisdiction. Rulings from the High Court can be appealed to the Court of Appeal of Tuvalu. From the Court of Appeal there is a right of appeal to Her Majesty in Council, i.e., the Privy Council in London.

Defence and law enforcement


Tuvalu has no regular military forces, and spends no money on the military. Its police force includes a Maritime Surveillance Unit for search and rescue missions and surveillance operations. The police have a Pacific-class patrol boat (HMTSS Te Mataili) provided by Australia under the Pacific Patrol Boat Program for use in maritime surveillance and fishery
Fishery
Generally, a fishery is an entity engaged in raising or harvesting fish which is determined by some authority to be a fishery. According to the FAO, a fishery is typically defined in terms of the "people involved, species or type of fish, area of water or seabed, method of fishing, class of boats,...

 patrol. HMTSS stands for His/Her Majesty's Tuvaluan State Ship or His/Her Majesty's Tuvalu Surveillance Ship.

Districts




Tuvalu's small population is distributed across nine islands, five of which are atoll
Atoll
An atoll is a coral island that encircles a lagoon partially or completely.- Usage :The word atoll comes from the Dhivehi word atholhu OED...

s. The smallest island, Niulakita, was uninhabited until it was settled by people from Niutao in 1949.

Local government districts consisting of more than one islet:
  • Funafuti
    Funafuti
    Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

  • Nanumea
    Nanumea
    Nanumea is the northwesternmost atoll in the Polynesian nation of Tuvalu, a group of nine coral atolls and islands spread over about four hundred miles of Pacific Ocean just south of the equator and west of the International Date Line.-Geography:...

  • Nui
  • Nukufetau
    Nukufetau
    Nukufetau is an atoll that is part of the nation of Tuvalu. The atoll was claimed by the US under the Guano Islands Act some time in the 19th century and was ceded in a treaty of friendship concluded in 1979 and coming into force in 1983...

  • Nukulaelae
    Nukulaelae
    Nukulaelae is an atoll that is part of the nation of Tuvalu, and has a population of 393. It has the form of an oval and consists of at least 15 islets...

  • Vaitupu
    Vaitupu
    Vaitupu is an atoll, which is part of the nation of Tuvalu.Vaitupu, the largest atoll of Tuvalu is located at 7.48 degrees south and 178.83 degrees west. The capital is Asau.-History:...


Local government districts consisting of only one island:
  • Nanumanga
    Nanumanga
    Nanumanga or Nanumaga is a reef island and a district of the Oceanian island nation of Tuvalu. It has a surface area of about 3 km².-History:...

  • Niulakita
    Niulakita
    Niulakita is the southernmost reef island, which is a district of Tuvalu, and the name of the only village on this island. The junior school is Lotoalofa Primary School.-Geographical features:...

  • Niutao
    Niutao
    Niutao is a reef island in the northern part of Tuvalu. It is one of the nine districts of Tuvalu, and one of the three who consist of only one island, not counting the three islets inside the closed lagoon. Niutao has a population of 663 .-Geography:There are two lakes , which are brackish to...


Foreign relations



Tuvalu participates in the work of Secretariat of the Pacific Community
Secretariat of the Pacific Community
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community, or SPC , is a regional intergovernmental organisation whose membership includes both nations and territories...

, or SPC (sometimes Pacific Community) and is a member of the Pacific Islands Forum
Pacific Islands Forum
The Pacific Islands Forum is an inter-governmental organization that aims to enhance cooperation between the independent countries of the Pacific Ocean. It was founded in 1971 as the South Pacific Forum...

, the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 and the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

. Tuvalu has maintained a mission at the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 since 2000. Tuvalu is a member of the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 and the Asian Development Bank
Asian Development Bank
The Asian Development Bank is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 to facilitate economic development of countries in Asia...

.

Tuvalu maintains close relations with Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. It has diplomatic relations with the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 (Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

); the ROC maintains the only resident embassy in Tuvalu and has a large assistance program in the islands.

A major international priority for Tuvalu in the UN, at the 2002 Earth Summit
Earth Summit
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development , also known as the Rio Summit, Rio Conference, Earth Summit was a major United Nations conference held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 June to 14 June 1992.-Overview:...

 in Johannesburg, South Africa and in other international fora is promoting concern about global warming and possible sea level rise. Tuvalu advocates ratification and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol
Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change , aimed at fighting global warming...

. In December 2009 the islands stalled talks on climate change at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

, fearing some other developing countries were not committing fully to binding deals on a reduction in carbon emission, their chief negotiator stated "Tuvalu is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change, and our future rests on the outcome of this meeting." Tuvalu participates in the operations of the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREC).

Tuvalu is a party to a treaty of friendship with the United States, signed soon after independence and ratified by the U.S. Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 in 1983, under which the United States renounced prior territorial claims to four Tuvaluan islands (Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

, Nukefetau, Nukulaelae
Nukulaelae
Nukulaelae is an atoll that is part of the nation of Tuvalu, and has a population of 393. It has the form of an oval and consists of at least 15 islets...

 and Niulakita
Niulakita
Niulakita is the southernmost reef island, which is a district of Tuvalu, and the name of the only village on this island. The junior school is Lotoalofa Primary School.-Geographical features:...

) under the Guano Islands Act
Guano Islands Act
The Guano Islands Act is federal legislation passed by the U.S. Congress, on August 18, 1856. It enables citizens of the U.S. to take possession of islands containing guano deposits. The islands can be located anywhere, so long as they are not occupied and not within the jurisdiction of other...

 of 1856.

Tuvalu participates in the operations of the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency. The Tuvaluan government, the US government, and the governments of other Pacific islands, are parties to South Pacific Tuna Treaty (SPTT). That agreement entered into force in 1988 with the current SPTT agreement expiring on June 14, 2013.
Tuvalu is also a member of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement
Parties to the Nauru Agreement
The Nauru Agreement Concerning Cooperation In The Management Of Fisheries Of Common Interest, or The Nauru Agreement is an Oceania subregional agreement between the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.The eight...

 which addresses management of tuna purse-seine fishing in the tropical western Pacific.

Geography and environment




Tuvalu consists of three reef
Reef
In nautical terminology, a reef is a rock, sandbar, or other feature lying beneath the surface of the water ....

 islands and six true atolls. Its small, scattered group of atolls have poor soil and a total land area of only about 26 square kilometres (less than 10 sq. mi.) making it the fourth smallest country in the world. The islets that form the atolls are very low lying. Nanumaga, Niutao
Niutao
Niutao is a reef island in the northern part of Tuvalu. It is one of the nine districts of Tuvalu, and one of the three who consist of only one island, not counting the three islets inside the closed lagoon. Niutao has a population of 663 .-Geography:There are two lakes , which are brackish to...

, Niulakita
Niulakita
Niulakita is the southernmost reef island, which is a district of Tuvalu, and the name of the only village on this island. The junior school is Lotoalofa Primary School.-Geographical features:...

 are reef
Reef
In nautical terminology, a reef is a rock, sandbar, or other feature lying beneath the surface of the water ....

 islands and the six true atolls are Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

, Nanumea
Nanumea
Nanumea is the northwesternmost atoll in the Polynesian nation of Tuvalu, a group of nine coral atolls and islands spread over about four hundred miles of Pacific Ocean just south of the equator and west of the International Date Line.-Geography:...

, Nui, Nukufetau
Nukufetau
Nukufetau is an atoll that is part of the nation of Tuvalu. The atoll was claimed by the US under the Guano Islands Act some time in the 19th century and was ceded in a treaty of friendship concluded in 1979 and coming into force in 1983...

, Nukulaelae
Nukulaelae
Nukulaelae is an atoll that is part of the nation of Tuvalu, and has a population of 393. It has the form of an oval and consists of at least 15 islets...

 and Vaitupu
Vaitupu
Vaitupu is an atoll, which is part of the nation of Tuvalu.Vaitupu, the largest atoll of Tuvalu is located at 7.48 degrees south and 178.83 degrees west. The capital is Asau.-History:...

. Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

 is the largest atoll
Atoll
An atoll is a coral island that encircles a lagoon partially or completely.- Usage :The word atoll comes from the Dhivehi word atholhu OED...

 of the nine low reef
Reef
In nautical terminology, a reef is a rock, sandbar, or other feature lying beneath the surface of the water ....

 islands and atolls that form the Tuvalu volcanic island chain. It comprises numerous islets around a central lagoon that is approximately 25.1 kilometres (15.6 mi) (N–S) by 18.4 kilometres (11.4 mi) (W-E), centred on 179°7’E and 8°30’S. On the atolls an annular reef rim surrounds the lagoon, with several natural reef channels.

The eastern shoreline of Funafuti Lagoon was modified during WW-II when the airfield (what is now Funafuti International Airport
Funafuti International Airport
Funafuti International Airport is an airport located in Funafuti, capital of the island nation of Tuvalu.-History:Funafuti Airport was built by United States Navy Seabee construction battalions in 1943 during World War II. The military airfield included an airstrip, control tower, facilities and...

) was constructed. As well several piers were constructed, beach areas filled, and deep water access channels were excavated. These alternations to the reef and shoreline have resulted in changes to wave patterns with less sand accumulating to form the beaches as compared to former times; and the shoreline is now exposed to wave action. Several attempts to stabilize the shoreline have not achieved the desired effect. The reefs at Funafuti have suffered damage, with 80 per cent of the coral having been bleached as a consequence of the increase of the ocean temperatures and acidification from increased levels of carbon dioxide. Researchers from Japan have investigated rebuilding the coral reefs through introduction of foraminifer.

The highest elevation is 4.6 metres (15.1 ft) above sea level on Niulakita
Niulakita
Niulakita is the southernmost reef island, which is a district of Tuvalu, and the name of the only village on this island. The junior school is Lotoalofa Primary School.-Geographical features:...

, which gives Tuvalu the second-lowest maximum elevation of any country (after the Maldives
Maldives
The Maldives , , officially Republic of Maldives , also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls oriented north-south off India's Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and...

). However, the highest elevations are typically in narrow storm dunes on the ocean side of the islands which are prone to over topping in tropical cyclones, such as occurred with Tropical Cyclone Bebe.

Because of the low elevation, the islands that make up this nation are threatened by current and future sea level rise. Additionally, Tuvalu is annually affected by king tide
King tide
King tide is the popular name for an especially high tide. The phrase is used mostly in Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific nations.In the lunar month, the highest tides occur roughly every 14 days, at the new and full moons, when the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun are in line...

 events which peak towards the end of the austral summer, and raise the sea level higher than a normal high tide
High Tide
High Tide was a band formed in 1969 by Tony Hill , Simon House , Peter Pavli and Roger Hadden .-History:...

. As a result of historical sea level rise, the king tide
King tide
King tide is the popular name for an especially high tide. The phrase is used mostly in Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific nations.In the lunar month, the highest tides occur roughly every 14 days, at the new and full moons, when the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun are in line...

 events lead to flooding of low lying areas, which is compounded when sea levels are further raised by La Niña
La Niña
La Niña is a coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon that is the counterpart of El Niño as part of the broader El Niño-Southern Oscillation climate pattern. During a period of La Niña, the sea surface temperature across the equatorial Eastern Central Pacific Ocean will be lower than normal by 3–5 °C...

 effects or local storms and waves. In the future, sea level rise may threaten to submerge the nation entirely as it is estimated that a sea level rise of 20–40 centimetres (8–16 inches) in the next 100 years could make Tuvalu uninhabitable.
Tuvalu experiences westerly gales and heavy rain from October to March - the period that is known as Tau-o-lalo; with tropical temperatures moderated by easterly winds from April to November. Drinking water
Drinking water
Drinking water or potable water is water pure enough to be consumed or used with low risk of immediate or long term harm. In most developed countries, the water supplied to households, commerce and industry is all of drinking water standard, even though only a very small proportion is actually...

 is mostly obtained from rainwater collected on roofs and stored in tanks; these systems are often poorly maintained, resulting in lack of water. Aid programs of Australia and the European Union have been directed to improving the storage capacity on Funafuti and in the outer islands.

The rising population results in increased demand on fish stocks, which are under stress; although the creation of the Funafuti Conservation Area
Funafuti Conservation Area
Funafuti Conservation Area is a marine conservation area covering 33 square kilometers of reef, lagoon and motu on the western side of Funafuti atoll in Tuvalu....

 has provided a fishing exclusion area that helps sustain fish populations across the Funafuti lagoon. Population pressure on the resources of Funafuti and in-adequation sanitation systems have resulted in pollution. The Waste Operations and Services Act 2009 provides the legal framework for the waste management and pollution control projects funded by the European Union that are directed to organic waste composting in eco-sanitation systems. Plastic waste is also a problem as much imported food and other commodities is supplied in plastic containers or packaging.

When the airfield at Funafuti was constructed during WW-II the coral base of the atoll was used as fill to create the runway; the resulting borrow pits
Borrow pit
A borrow pit, also known as a sand box, is a term used in construction and civil engineering. It describes an area where material has been dug for use at another location. Borrow pits can be found close to many major construction projects...

 impacted on the water aquifer; at these pits the sea water can be seen bubbling up through the porous coral rock to form pools on each high tide.

Tourism



The main island of Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

 is the focus of travelers, as the only airport in Tuvalu is the Funafuti International Airport
Funafuti International Airport
Funafuti International Airport is an airport located in Funafuti, capital of the island nation of Tuvalu.-History:Funafuti Airport was built by United States Navy Seabee construction battalions in 1943 during World War II. The military airfield included an airstrip, control tower, facilities and...

, with the island having hotel accommodation. Ecotourism
Ecotourism
Ecotourism is a form of tourism visiting fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas, intended as a low impact and often small scale alternative to standard commercial tourism...

 is a motivation of travelers to Tuvalu. The Funafuti Conservation Area
Funafuti Conservation Area
Funafuti Conservation Area is a marine conservation area covering 33 square kilometers of reef, lagoon and motu on the western side of Funafuti atoll in Tuvalu....

 consists of 33 square kilometers of ocean, reef, lagoon, channel and six uninhabited islets.

The outer atolls can be visited on the two passenger/cargo ships Nivaga II and Manu Folau, which provide a round trip visiting the outer islands every three or four weeks. There is no tourist accommodation on the outer atolls.

Economy



From 1996 to 2002, Tuvalu was one of the best performing Pacific Island economies and achieved an average real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 5.6 per cent per annum. Since 2002 economic growth has slowed with GDP of 1.5% in 2008. Tuvalu was exposed to rapid rises in world prices fuel and food in 2008, with the level of inflation peaking at 13.4%. The International Monetary Fund 2010 Report on Tuvalu estimates that Tuvalu experienced zero growth in GDP in 2010, after the economy contracted by about 2 percent in 2009.

Public sector workers make up about two thirds of those in formal employment. About 15% of adult males work as seamen on foreign flagged merchant ships. Tuvaluans are otherwise involved in traditional subsistence agriculture and fishing.

Tuvalu generates income from the Tuvalu Trust Fund
Tuvalu Trust Fund
The Tuvalu Trust Fund is an international sovereign wealth fund developed by Tuvalu, a small, central Pacific island nation, as a supplement to cover shortfalls in the national budget.-Establishment:...

, the commercialisation of the ‘.tv’ web address, fishing licences, sale of stamps and coins; remittances from Tuvaluans living in Australia and New Zealand; and remittances from Tuvaluan sailors employed on overseas ships.

In 1998, Tuvalu began deriving revenue from use of its area code for "900" lines
Premium-rate telephone number
Premium-rate telephone numbers are telephone numbers for telephone calls during which certain services are provided, and for which prices higher than normal are charged. Unlike a normal call, part of the call charge is paid to the service provider, thus enabling businesses to be funded via the calls...

 and from the sale of its ".tv
.tv
The domain name .tv is the Internet country code top-level domain for the islands of Tuvalu.Except for reserved names like com.tv, net.tv, org.tv and others, any person may register second-level domains in tv...

" Internet domain name.

The Tuvalu Trust Fund
Tuvalu Trust Fund
The Tuvalu Trust Fund is an international sovereign wealth fund developed by Tuvalu, a small, central Pacific island nation, as a supplement to cover shortfalls in the national budget.-Establishment:...

 was established in 1987 by the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

. The value of the Tuvalu Trust Fund
Tuvalu Trust Fund
The Tuvalu Trust Fund is an international sovereign wealth fund developed by Tuvalu, a small, central Pacific island nation, as a supplement to cover shortfalls in the national budget.-Establishment:...

 is approximately $100 million.

Australia and New Zealand continue to contribute capital to the Tuvalu Trust Fund
Tuvalu Trust Fund
The Tuvalu Trust Fund is an international sovereign wealth fund developed by Tuvalu, a small, central Pacific island nation, as a supplement to cover shortfalls in the national budget.-Establishment:...

 and provide other forms of development assistance. The US government is also a major revenue source for Tuvalu, with 1999 payments from the South Pacific Tuna Treaty (SPTT) at about $9 million, a total which is expected to rise annually. The SPTT entered into force in 1988 with the current SPTT agreement expiring on June 14, 2013. Financial support to Tuvalu is also provided by Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 and the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

.

The United Nations designates Tuvalu as a ‘Least Developed Country’, because of its limited potential for economic development, absence of exploitable resources, small size and vulnerability to external economic and environmental shocks.

Because of the country's remoteness, tourism does not provide much income; a thousand tourists are estimated to visit Tuvalu annually.

Demographics



The country's population has more than doubled since 1980, and with a growth rate of 0.702%, the population at the 2002 census was 9,561, and is estimated to reach 10,544 in July 2010. The population of Tuvalu is primarily of Polynesia
Polynesia
Polynesia is a subregion of Oceania, made up of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians and they share many similar traits including language, culture and beliefs...

n ethnicity; about 4% of the population is Micronesia
Micronesia
Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, comprising thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It is distinct from Melanesia to the south, and Polynesia to the east. The Philippines lie to the west, and Indonesia to the southwest....

n. The net migration rate is estimated at -7.02 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)

The primary destinations for migration are New Zealand and Australian. New Zealand provides for annual quota of 75 Tuvaluans granted work permits under the Pacific Access Category, which was was announced in 2001.The applicants register for the Pacific Access Category (PAC) ballots; the primary criteria for applicants is that the principal applicant must have a job offer from a New Zealand employer. Tuvaluans can also gain access to seasonal employment in the horticulture and viticulture industries in New Zealand under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Work Policy, which was introduced in 2007 for the employment of up to 5,000 workers from Tuvalu and other Pacific islands. Australia and Tuvalu are discussing extending access to the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme to Tuvaluans.

Life expectancy at birth is 62.7 years for males and 66.9 years for females (2011 est.)

The Tuvaluan language
Tuvaluan language
Tuvaluan is a Polynesian language of or closely related to the Ellicean group spoken in Tuvalu. It is more or less distantly related to all other Polynesian languages, such as Hawaiian, Maori, Tahitian, Samoan, and Tongan, and most closely related to the languages spoken on the Polynesian Outliers...

 is spoken by virtually everyone, while a language very similar to Gilbertese
Gilbertese language
-External links:**** with Gilbertese – English Translations from – The Rosetta Edition**...

 is spoken on Nui. English is also an official language, but is not spoken in daily use. Parliament and official functions are conducted in Tuvaluan
Tuvaluan
Tuvaluan can mean:* an Austronesian language, spoken in Tuvalu, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru and New Zealand; see Tuvaluan language,* something to do with the Oceanian island nation of Tuvalu; see Tuvalu* the people of this country; see Tuvaluan people...

.
The introduction of Christianity ended the worship of the spirits of ancestors and other deities, along with the power of the vaka-atua (the priests of the old religions). Laumua Kofe describes the objects of worship as varying from island to island, although ancestor worship is described by Rev. D.J. Whitmee in 1870 as being common practice. About 97% of the Tuvaluans are members of the Church of Tuvalu
Church of Tuvalu
The Christian Church of Tuvalu, in Tuvaluan - Te Ekalesia Kelisiano Tuvalu - is the national church of Tuvalu. It comprises 92% of the 12,000 inhabitants of the archipelago....

, a Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 Christian church. Tuvaluans continue to have respect for their ancestors within the context of a strong Christian faith.

Other religions practised on the island include Seventh-day Adventist (1.4%), Bahá'í
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 (1%). and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the larger of two communities that arose from the Ahmadiyya movement founded in 1889 in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian . The original movement split into two factions soon after the death of the founder...

 (400 members, 0.4%).

Dance and Music


The contemporary style of Tuvaluan music consists of a number of dances, most popularly including fatele. The traditions styles of fakanau and fakaseasea, were used to celebrate leaders and other prominent individuals. The Tuvaluan style can be described "as a musical microcosm of Polynesia, where contemporary and older styles co-exist".

Heritage


The traditional community system still survives to a large extent 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 parents to children.

Most islands have their own fusi, or community owned shops that are similar to a convenience store, you can buy canned foods and bags of rice, but goods are cheaper and fusis give better prices for their own produce.

Another important building is the falekaupule or traditional island meeting hall, where important matters are discussed and which is also used for wedding celebrations and community activities such as a fatele involving music, singing and dancing. Falekaupule is also used as the name of the council of elders - the traditional decision making body on each island. Under the Falekaupule Act, Falekaupule means “traditional assembly in each island...composed in accordance with the Aganu of each island”. Aganu means traditional custom and culture.

Cuisine


The traditional foods eaten in Tuvalu are pulaka
Pulaka
Pulaka , or swamp taro, is a crop grown in Oceania and an important source of carbohydrates for the area's inhabitants. It is a "swamp crop" similar to taro, but "with bigger leaves and larger, coarser roots." Pulaka roots need to be cooked for hours to reduce toxicity in the corms, but are rich...

, banana
Banana
Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red....

s, breadfruit
Breadfruit
Breadfruit is a species of flowering tree in the mulberry family, Moraceae, growing throughout Southeast Asia and most Pacific Ocean islands...

, coconut
Coconut
The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae . It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which is not a botanical nut. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word...

, seafood (coconut crab
Coconut crab
The coconut crab, Birgus latro, is a species of terrestrial hermit crab, also known as the robber crab or palm thief. It is the largest land-living arthropod in the world, and is probably at the upper size limit of terrestrial animals with exoskeletons in today's atmosphere at a weight of up to...

, turtle
Turtle
Turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines , characterised by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield...

 and fish), seabirds (taketake or Black Noddy
Black Noddy
The Black Noddy or White-capped Noddy is a seabird from the tern family. It resembles the closely related Brown or Common Noddy , but is smaller with darker plumage, a whiter cap, a longer, straighter beak and shorter tail...

 and akiaki or White Tern
White Tern
The White Tern is a small seabird found across the tropical oceans of the world. It is sometimes known as the Fairy Tern although this name is potentially confusing as it is the common name of the Fairy Tern Sternula nereis...

) and pork
Pork
Pork is the culinary name for meat from the domestic pig , which is eaten in many countries. It is one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC....

.

Pulaka
Pulaka
Pulaka , or swamp taro, is a crop grown in Oceania and an important source of carbohydrates for the area's inhabitants. It is a "swamp crop" similar to taro, but "with bigger leaves and larger, coarser roots." Pulaka roots need to be cooked for hours to reduce toxicity in the corms, but are rich...

 is the main source for carbohydrate
Carbohydrate
A carbohydrate is an organic compound with the empirical formula ; that is, consists only of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, with a hydrogen:oxygen atom ratio of 2:1 . However, there are exceptions to this. One common example would be deoxyribose, a component of DNA, which has the empirical...

s. It is grown in large pits below the water table in composted soil. Seafood is the main source of protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

. Bananas and breadfruit are supplemental crops. Finally, coconut is used for its juice, making beverages, and to improve the taste of other dishes. Pork is eaten mostly at fateles (or parties with dancing to celebrate certain events).

Catching flying fish by using a boat, a butterfly net, and a spotlight to attract the flying fish, is both a source of food and an exciting activity.

Language


The Tuvaluan language
Tuvaluan language
Tuvaluan is a Polynesian language of or closely related to the Ellicean group spoken in Tuvalu. It is more or less distantly related to all other Polynesian languages, such as Hawaiian, Maori, Tahitian, Samoan, and Tongan, and most closely related to the languages spoken on the Polynesian Outliers...

 of the Ellicean group spoken in Tuvalu. It is more or less distantly related to all other Polynesian languages, such as Hawaiian
Hawaiian
Hawaiian may refer to:* People from Hawaii* Hawaiian language* Native Hawaiians* The Hawaiians, a football team in the World Football League from 1974 to 1975* Hawaiian Airlines, a commercial airline* Hawaiian music...

, Māori
Māori
The Māori are the native or indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand . They arrived in New Zealand from eastern Polynesia in several waves at some time before 1300 CE. Over several centuries in isolation, the Māori developed a unique culture with their own language, a rich mythology,...

, Tahitian
Tahitian language
Tahitian is an indigenous language spoken mainly in the Society Islands in French Polynesia. It is an Eastern Polynesian language closely related to the other indigenous languages spoken in French Polynesia: Marquesan, Tuamotuan, Mangarevan, and Austral Islands languages...

, Samoan
Samoan language
Samoan Samoan Samoan (Gagana Sāmoa, is the language of the Samoan Islands, comprising the independent country of Samoa and the United States territory of American Samoa. It is an official language—alongside English—in both jurisdictions. Samoan, a Polynesian language, is the first language for most...

, and Tongan
Tongan
Tongan can refer to:*Tongan people, a person from Tonga*Tongan language*Tong'an District, district in Xiamen, Fujian, China...

, and most closely related to the languages spoken on the Polynesian outlier
Polynesian outlier
Polynesian outliers are a number of culturally Polynesian islands which lie in geographic or political Melanesia and Micronesia. Based on archaeological and linguistic analysis, these islands are believed to have been colonized by seafaring Polynesians, mostly from the area of Tonga, Samoa and...

s in Micronesia
Micronesia
Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, comprising thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It is distinct from Melanesia to the south, and Polynesia to the east. The Philippines lie to the west, and Indonesia to the southwest....

 and Northern and Central Melanesia
Melanesia
Melanesia is a subregion of Oceania extending from the western end of the Pacific Ocean to the Arafura Sea, and eastward to Fiji. The region comprises most of the islands immediately north and northeast of Australia...

. Tuvaluan has borrowed considerably from Samoan, the language of Christian missionaries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There are about 13,000 Tuvaluan speakers worldwide. Tuvaluan radio services are operated by the Tuvalu Media Corporation.

Sport and leisure


A traditional sport played in Tuvalu is kilikiti
Kilikiti
Kilikiti is one of several forms of the game of cricket. Originating in Samoa , it spread throughout Polynesia and can now be found around the world in areas with strong Polynesian populations...

, which is similar to cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

. Another sport popular and specific to Tuvalu is ano
ANO
Ano or ANO may refer to:* Ano, Ethiopia* Ano family, a noble family of Japan* Ano , a sport with two 12 cm balls, conducted at Tuvalu* Abu Nidal Organization, Palestinian Revolutionary Council, founded by Abu Nidal...

, which is played with 2 round balls of 12 cm diameter.

More common sports such as football
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

, volleyball
Volleyball
Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules.The complete rules are extensive...

 and rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 are also played in the country as recreational activities. Tuvalu has sports organisations for badminton, basketball, tennis, table tennis, volleyball and weightlifting. A major sporting event is the "Independence Day Sports" festival held annually on 1 October during the Tuvaluan Independence Day celebrations.

Tuvalu has a national football team
Tuvalu national football team
The Tuvalu national football team is the international football team of Tuvalu, which trains at the Vaiaku Stadium in Funafuti. The Tuvalu national football team draws from players in the Tuvalu A-Division; the national team competes in the Pacific Games and South Pacific Games...

, which trains at the Vaiaku Stadium
Vaiaku Stadium
Vaiaku Stadium is a multi-use stadium in Funafuti, Tuvalu. It is currently used mostly for football matches. The stadium holds 1,500 people....

 in Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

. The Tuvalu national football team
Tuvalu national football team
The Tuvalu national football team is the international football team of Tuvalu, which trains at the Vaiaku Stadium in Funafuti. The Tuvalu national football team draws from players in the Tuvalu A-Division; the national team competes in the Pacific Games and South Pacific Games...

 competes in the Pacific Games and South Pacific Games. The Tuvalu Football Association is an associate member of the Oceania Football Confederation
Oceania Football Confederation
The Oceania Football Confederation is one of the six continental confederations of international association football, consisting of Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and island nations such as Tonga, Fiji and other Pacific Island countries...

 (OFC) and is seeking membership of FIFA
FIFA
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association , commonly known by the acronym FIFA , is the international governing body of :association football, futsal and beach football. Its headquarters are located in Zurich, Switzerland, and its president is Sepp Blatter, who is in his fourth...

.

Tuvalu first participated in the South Pacific Games in 1978. Tuvalu first participated in the Commonwealth Games
Tuvalu at the Commonwealth Games
Tuvalu first participated in the Commonwealth Games in 1998, when a weightlifter attended the games held at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Tuvalu has subsequently sent teams to compete in the Commonwealth Games in 2002, 2006 and 2010.-Medal tally:...

 in 1998, when a weightlifter attended the games held at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Two table tennis players attended the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England; Tuvalu entered competitors in shooting, table tennis and weightlifting at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne
Tuvalu at the 2006 Commonwealth Games
Tuvalu was represented at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne by a xx-member strong contingent comprising xx sportspersons and xx officials. Tuvalu entered competitors in shooting, table tennis and weightlifting...

, Australia; and three athletes attended the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Delhi
Tuvalu at the 2010 Commonwealth Games
Tuvalu competed in the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in Delhi. It sent three athletes to compete....

, India, participating in the discus, shot put and weightlifting events.

The Tuvalu Amateur Sport Association was recognised as the Tuvalu National Olympic Committee in July 2007. Tuvalu entered the Olympic Games for the first time at the 2008 Summer Games
Tuvalu at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Tuvalu made their first ever appearance in an Olympic Games when the country sent three athletes to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Athletes from Tuvalu competed in two events....

 in Beijing, China, with a weightlifter and two athletes participating in the men’s and women’s 100 metre sprint.

At the 2011 Pacific Games held in New Caledonia, Tuvaluan weightlifters won 2 silver medals and one bronze medal.

Transport



Transport services in Tuvalu are limited. There are about eight kilometres of roads. The streets of Funafuti were paved and lit in mid-2002, and other roads are unpaved. Tuvalu is among a few countries that do not have railroads.

Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

 is the only port, and there is also a deep-water berth in the harbour at Nukufetau
Nukufetau
Nukufetau is an atoll that is part of the nation of Tuvalu. The atoll was claimed by the US under the Guano Islands Act some time in the 19th century and was ceded in a treaty of friendship concluded in 1979 and coming into force in 1983...

. The merchant marine fleet consists of two passenger/cargo ships Nivaga II and Manu Folau. These ships carry cargo and passengers between the main atolls and also travel between Suva
Suva
Suva features a tropical rainforest climate under the Koppen climate classification. The city sees a copious amount of precipitation during the course of the year. Suva averages 3,000 mm of precipitation annually with its driest month, July averaging 125 mm of rain per year. In fact,...

, Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

 and Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

 3-4 times a year. The Nivaga II and Manu Folau provide a round trip visiting the outer islands every three or four weeks. The Manu Folau is a 50-meter vessel that was a gift from Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 to the people of Tuvalu.

The only airport is Funafuti International Airport
Funafuti International Airport
Funafuti International Airport is an airport located in Funafuti, capital of the island nation of Tuvalu.-History:Funafuti Airport was built by United States Navy Seabee construction battalions in 1943 during World War II. The military airfield included an airstrip, control tower, facilities and...

; it is a tarred strip. Air Pacific
Air Pacific
Air Pacific Limited, Fiji's international airline, operates international and domestic services around the Pacific and to North America and Hong Kong. It is also a partner with the frequent flyer programmes of Qantas, American Airlines, and Alaska Airlines...

, which owns Fiji Airlines, trading as Pacific Sun
Pacific Sun
The Pacific Sun was founded in 1963 in California, and is the second longest running alternative weekly in the nation, behind only The Village Voice...

 operates services between Suva
Suva
Suva features a tropical rainforest climate under the Koppen climate classification. The city sees a copious amount of precipitation during the course of the year. Suva averages 3,000 mm of precipitation annually with its driest month, July averaging 125 mm of rain per year. In fact,...

 (originating from Nadi
Nadi
Nadi is the third-largest conurbation in Fiji. It is located on the western side of the main island of Viti Levu, and had a population of 42,284 at the most recent census, in 2007. Nadi is multiracial with many of its inhabitants Indian or Fijian, along with a large transient population of foreign...

) and Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

; with a 40-seat plane twice a week.

Education


Education in Tuvalu is free of charge and compulsory between the ages of 6 and 15 years. Each island has a primary school. The secondary school is on Vaitupu
Vaitupu
Vaitupu is an atoll, which is part of the nation of Tuvalu.Vaitupu, the largest atoll of Tuvalu is located at 7.48 degrees south and 178.83 degrees west. The capital is Asau.-History:...

. Students board at the school during the school term, returning to their home islands each school vacation.

School attendance at school is 10 years for males and 11 years for females (2001).
Adult literacy rate is 99.0% (2002).

The Tuvaluan Employment Ordinance (1966) sets the minimum age for paid employment at 14, and prohibits children below age 15 from performing hazardous work.

El Niño & La Niña effects and the effects of climate change


At its highest, Tuvalu is only 4.6 metres (15.1 ft) above sea level, and officials have been concerned about the effects of rising sea levels for some years. The matter of whether there are measurable changes in the sea level relative to the islands of Tuvalu is a contentious issue. There are problems associated with the pre-1993 sea level records from Funafuti so that a data over a longer period needs to be collected in order to have more reliable data. The degree of uncertainty as to estimates of sea level change relative to the islands of Tuvalu is reflected in the conclusions made from the available data. The 2011 report of the Pacific Climate Change Science Program published by the Australian Government, concludes that "[t]he sea-level rise near Tuvalu measured by satellite altimeters since 1993 is about 5 mm per year."

There are observable changes that have occurred over the last ten to fifteen years that show Tuvaluans that there have been changes to sea levels. Those observable changes include sea water bubbling up through the porous coral rock to form pools on each high tide and flooding of low-lying areas including the airport on a regular during spring tides and king tides.

As low-lying islands, lacking a surrounding shallow shelf, the island communities of Tuvalu are especially susceptible to changes in sea level and storm patterns that hit the island undissipated. It is estimated that a sea level rise of 20–40 centimetres (8–16 inches) in the next 100 years could make Tuvalu uninhabitable.

The 2011 report of Pacific Climate Change Science Program of Australian concludes in relation to Tuvalu that over the course of the 21st century:

• Surface air temperature and sea‑surface temperature are projected to continue to increase (very high confidence).

• Annual and seasonal mean rainfall is projected to increase (high confidence).

• The intensity and frequency of days of extreme heat are projected to increase (very high confidence).

• The intensity and frequency of days of extreme rainfall are projected to increase (high confidence).

• The incidence of drought is projected to decrease (moderate confidence).

• Tropical cyclone numbers are projected to decline in the south-east Pacific Ocean basin (0–40ºS, 170ºE–130ºW) (moderate confidence).

• Ocean acidification is projected to continue (very high confidence).

• Mean sea-level rise is projected to continue (very high confidence).
The South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission
South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission
The Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission is an inter-governmental regional organisation dedicated to providing services to promote sustainable development in the countries it serves.-Members:...

 (SOPAC) suggests that while Tuvalu is vulnerable to climate change there are additional environmental problems such as population growth and poor coastal management that are affecting sustainable development on the island. SOPAC ranks the country as extremely vulnerable using the Environmental Vulnerability Index
Environmental Vulnerability Index
The Environmental Vulnerability Index is a measurement devised by the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission , the United Nations Environment Program and others to characterize the relative severity of various types of environmental issues suffered by 243 enumerated individual nations and...

.

While some commentators have called for the relocation of the population of Tuvalu to Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, or Kioa
Kioa
Kioa is an island in Fiji, an outlier to Vanua Levu, one of Fiji's two main islands. Situated opposite Buca Bay, Kioa is a freehold by settlers from Tuvalu, who came between 1947 and 1983...

 in Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

, the former Prime Minister Maatia Toafa
Maatia Toafa
Maatia Toafa is a Tuvaluan politician, representing Nanumea who served two non-consecutive terms as Prime Minister of Tuvalu. He first served as Prime Minister from 2004 to 2006, from the resignation of his predecessor, Saufatu Sopoanga, until the defeat of his Cabinet in the 2006 general election...

 said his government did not regard rising sea levels as such a threat that the entire population would need to be evacuated. In spite of persistent Internet rumours that New Zealand has agreed to accept an annual quota of 75 evacuees, the annual quota of 75 Tuvaluans granted work permits under the Pacific Access Category (that was announced in 2001) are not related to environmental concerns.

Tuvalu experiences the effects of El Niño and La Niña
La Niña
La Niña is a coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon that is the counterpart of El Niño as part of the broader El Niño-Southern Oscillation climate pattern. During a period of La Niña, the sea surface temperature across the equatorial Eastern Central Pacific Ocean will be lower than normal by 3–5 °C...

 that flow from changes in ocean temperatures in equatorial and central Pacific. El Niño effects increase the chances of tropical storms and cyclones; while La Niña
La Niña
La Niña is a coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon that is the counterpart of El Niño as part of the broader El Niño-Southern Oscillation climate pattern. During a period of La Niña, the sea surface temperature across the equatorial Eastern Central Pacific Ocean will be lower than normal by 3–5 °C...

 effects increase the chances of drought conditions in Tuvalu. Typically the islands of Tuvalu receive between 200mm to 400mm of rainfall per month, however in 2011 a weak La Niña
La Niña
La Niña is a coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon that is the counterpart of El Niño as part of the broader El Niño-Southern Oscillation climate pattern. During a period of La Niña, the sea surface temperature across the equatorial Eastern Central Pacific Ocean will be lower than normal by 3–5 °C...

 effect caused a drought by cooling the surface of the sea around Tuvalu. A state of emergency
State of emergency
A state of emergency is a governmental declaration that may suspend some normal functions of the executive, legislative and judicial powers, alert citizens to change their normal behaviours, or order government agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans. It can also be used as a rationale...

 was declared on September 28, 2011; with rationing of available fresh-water on the islands of Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

 and Nukulaelae
Nukulaelae
Nukulaelae is an atoll that is part of the nation of Tuvalu, and has a population of 393. It has the form of an oval and consists of at least 15 islets...

.

Households on Funafuti
Funafuti
Funafuti is an atoll that forms the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. It has a population of 4,492 , making it the most populated atoll in the country. It is a narrow sweep of land between 20 and 400 metres wide, encircling a large lagoon 18 km long and 14 km wide, with a surface of...

 and Nukulaelae
Nukulaelae
Nukulaelae is an atoll that is part of the nation of Tuvalu, and has a population of 393. It has the form of an oval and consists of at least 15 islets...

 are rationed to two buckets of fresh-water a day (40 litres). The governments of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 have responded to the fresh-water crisis by supplying temporary desalination plants, and assisting in the repair of the existing desalination unit that was donated by Japan in 2006. In response to the 2011 drought, Japan has funded the purchase of a 100 m³/d desalination plant and two portable 10 m³/d plants as part of its Pacific Environment Community (PEC) program. Aid programs of the European Union; and Australia also provide water tanks as part of the longer term solution for the storage of available fresh water.

See also



  • Tuvalu National Library and Archives
    Tuvalu National Library and Archives
    The Tuvalu National Library and Archives is the national library of Tuvalu. It is located in Funafuti.-Role and facilities:The TNLA holds "vital documentation on the cultural, social and political heritage of Tuvalu", including surviving records from the colonial administration, as well as Tuvalu...

  • Talofa! Tuvalu Met Service
  • South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring Project (SPSLCMP)
  • Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission - PacificWater SOPAC (water, sanitation and hygiene)
  • Communications in Tuvalu
    Communications in Tuvalu
    This article is about the ways people in Tuvalu can communicate with one another.Telephones - main lines in use:900 Telephones - mobile cellular:1300 Telephone system:domestic:radiotelephone communications between islands...

  • ISO 3166-2:TV
    ISO 3166-2:TV
    ISO 3166-2:TV is the entry for Tuvalu in ISO 3166-2, part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization , which defines codes for the names of the principal subdivisions of all countries coded in ISO 3166-1.Currently for Tuvalu, ISO 3166-2 codes are...

  • LGBT rights in Tuvalu
    LGBT rights in Tuvalu
    Male on male sex is illegal in Tuvalu. The Penal Code sections 153, 154 and 155 outlaws homosexual intercourse. There are no LGBT recognitions or rights in Tuvalu.-153 Unnatural offences:Any person who — commits buggery with another person or with an animal; or...

  • Girl Guides Association of Tuvalu
    Girl Guides Association of Tuvalu
    The Girl Guides Association of Tuvalu was previously a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, however membership was withdrawn in 2005....

  • Tuvalu Scout Association
    Tuvalu Scout Association
    Scouting in Tuvalu was first introduced in 1914, while known as the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. Scouting operated as branch of the Scout Association in the early years. The Gilbert and Ellice Scout Association was founded in 1927, and joined the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1933...



Further reading

  • Bibliography of Tuvalu
  • Lonely Planet Guide: South Pacific & Micronesia, by various
  • Bennetts, Peter and Tony Wheeler, Time & Tide: The Islands of Tuvalu, Lonely Planet (2001)
  • Besnier, Niko, Literacy, Emotion and Authority: Reading and Writing on a Polynesian Atoll, Cambridge University Press, (1995)
  • Ells, Philip Where the Hell is Tuvalu?, Virgin Books, (2008)
  • Macdonald, Barrie Cinderellas of the Empire: towards a history of Kiribati and Tuvalu, Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific
    University of the South Pacific
    The University of the South Pacific is a public university with a number of locations spread throughout a dozen countries in Oceania. It is an international centre for teaching and research on Pacific culture and environment. USP's academic programmes are recognised worldwide, attracting students...

    , Suva, Fiji, (2001). ISBN 982-02-0335-X (Australian National University
    Australian National University
    The Australian National University is a teaching and research university located in the Australian capital, Canberra.As of 2009, the ANU employs 3,945 administrative staff who teach approximately 10,000 undergraduates, and 7,500 postgraduate students...

     Press, first published 1982)
  • Watling, Dick, A Guide to the Birds of Fiji and Western Polynesia: Including American Samoa, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Wallis and Futuna, Environmental Consultants (Fiji) Ltd; 2nd edition, (2003)


Customs and Traditions
  • Brady, Ivan, Kinship Reciprocity in the Ellice Islands, Journal of Polynesian Society 81:3 (1972), 290-316
  • Brady, Ivan, Land Tenure in the Ellice Islands, in Henry P. Lundsaarde (ed). Land Tenure in Oceania, Honolulu, University Press of Hawaii (1974)
  • Koch, Gerd, Die Materielle Kulture der Ellice-Inseln, Berlin: Museum fur Volkerkunde (1961)


Music and Dance
  • Christensen, Dieter, Old Musical Styles in the Ellice Islands, Western Polynesia, Ethnomusicology, 8:1 (1964), 34-40
  • Christensen, Dieter and Gerd Koch, Die Musik der Ellice-Inseln, Berlin: Museum fur Volkerkunde (1964)
  • Linkels, Ad, The Real Music of Paradise. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.) Rough Guides (2000)

External links



General information
Travel
Video
  • Tuvalu Pleads for Climate Resolution – report by Democracy Now!
    Democracy Now!
    Democracy Now! and its staff have received several journalism awards, including the Gracie Award from American Women in Radio & Television; the George Polk Award for its 1998 radio documentary Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship, on the Chevron Corporation and the deaths of...


Records of scientific expeditions