Nuku’alofa, Tonga

Reference work entry


Nuku’alofa, in the north of Tongatapu (the main island of Tonga), is the capital and main harbour (surrounded by coral reef) of Tonga. Nuku’alofa translates as ‘abode of love’.


Tongatapu joined the unified Kingdom of Tonga in 1845. Tonga was under Anglo–German and then English rule until 1970 when Nuku’alofa became capital of independent Tonga.

Modern City

Nuku’alofa has a deep-water port. Fua’amotu airport is 22 km from the city centre. The local economy relies upon tourism and the export of coconuts, copra, vanilla and bananas. Local crafts also bring in revenue and there is a small industries centre in the city outskirts. There is a branch of the University of the South Pacific on the island. Nuku’alofa has expanded into surrounding agricultural and wetlands in recent years to accommodate a swathe of shanty towns.

Places of Interest

The Royal Palace, built in 1867, is Nuku’alofa’s most recognizable landmark though not open to the public, unlike the neighbouring...

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© Springer Nature Limited 2019

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