Tonga: Kingdom of Tonga

  • Barry Turner
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


The Tongatapu group of islands in the south western Pacific Ocean was discovered by Tasman in 1643. The Kingdom of Tonga attained unity under Taufa’ahau Tupou (George I) who became ruler of his native Ha’apai in 1820, of Vava’u in 1833 and of Tongatapu in 1845. By 1860 the kingdom had become converted to Christianity (George himself having been baptized in 1831). In 1862 the king granted freedom to the people from arbitrary rule of minor chiefs and gave them the right to the allocation of land for their own needs. These institutional changes, together with the establishment of a parliament of chiefs, paved the way towards the democratic constitution under which the kingdom is now governed.


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Further Reading

  1. Campbell, I. C, Island Kingdom: Tonga, Ancient and Modem. Canterbury (NZ) Univ. Press, 1994Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Turner

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