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Flag of Tuvalu

Tuvalu ( /tˈvɑːl/ ( About this sound listen) too-VAH-loo or /ˈtvəl/ TOO-və-loo), formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. It comprises three reef islands and six true atolls spread out between the latitude of to 10° south and longitude of 176° to 180°, west of the International Date Line. Its nearest neighbours are Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa and Fiji. Tuvalu has a population of about 10,837 people (2012). The total land area of the islands of Tuvalu is 26 square kilometres (10 sq mi).

The first inhabitants of Tuvalu were Polynesians. The pattern of settlement that is believed to have occurred is that the Polynesians spread out from Samoa and Tonga into the Tuvaluan islands, with Tuvalu providing a stepping stone to migration into the Polynesian Outlier communities in Melanesia and Micronesia.

In 1568 Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña was the first European to sail through the archipelago. In 1568 during his first voyage he sighted Nui and during his second voyage in 1595 he sailed past Niulakita. In 1819 the island of Funafuti was named Ellice's Island; the name Ellice was applied to all nine islands. The islands were declared a British Protectorate by Captain Gibson of HMS Curacoa in 1892; then administered as part of the British Western Pacific Territories; and from 1916 to 1974 as part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony.

The result of the Ellice Islands self-determination referendum, 1974 was that the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony ceased to exist on 1 January 1976 and the separate British colonies of Kiribati and Tuvalu came into existence. Tuvalu became fully independent within the Commonwealth on 1 October 1978. On 17 September 2000 Tuvalu became the 189th member of the United Nations.

Selected article

Funafuti atoll

Funafuti is an atoll on which the capital of the island nation of Tuvalu is located. It has a population about 6,194 people (2012), making it the most populated atoll with 57.2 percent of Tuvalu's population.

The lagoon (Te Namo in Tuvaluan) is by far the largest lagoon in Tuvalu. The land area of the 33 islets aggregates to 2.4 square kilometres (0.9 sq mi), less than one percent of the total area of the atoll. In June 1996, the Funafuti Conservation Area was established along the western rim of the reef, encompassing six islets. It has an area of 33 km², containing 20 percent of the reef area of Funafuti.

The founding ancestor of the people of Funafuti is described as being from Samoa. The name of one of the islets Funafala means 'the pandanus of Funa', the name of a chief, after whom also the atoll has been named Funafuti. (More...)

Selected biography

Asenate Manoa (Nancy Manoa) was a Tuvaluan athlete who represented Tuvalu at the 2008 Summer Olympics, at the 2009 World Championships & 2011 World Championships and at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Her event was the 100 metres sprint. Manoa then became a powerlifter and won a bronze medal at the Pacific Games 2015 in the 72 kg category. Manoa was born 23 May 1992 on Kioa island in Fiji; Kioa was purchased by settlers from Tuvalu, who migrated from Tuvalu between 1947 and 1983.


Selected picture

Canoe carving on Nanumea

Outrigger canoes are still constructed today such as this one being carved on Nanumea.

During pre-European-contact times there was frequent canoe voyaging between the islands as Polynesian navigation skills are recognised to have allowed deliberate journeys on double-hull sailing canoes or outrigger canoes. Eight of the nine islands of Tuvalu were inhabited; thus the name,

Tuvalu, means "eight standing together" in Tuvaluan.

Did you know?

DYK Question Mark Right
  • A traditional sport played in Tuvalu is kilikiti, which is similar to cricket.

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