An Austronesian-speaking group linked to the archaeological construct known as the Lapita cultural complex reached and colonised Tonga around 1500–1000 BCE. Scholars have much debated the exact dates of the initial settlement of Tonga, but recently it has been thought that the first settlers came to the oldest town Nukuleka about 826 BCE, ± 8 years. Not much is known about Tonga before European contact because of the lack of a writing system. However, oral history has survived and been recorded after the arrival of the Europeans. The Tongan people first encountered Europeans in 1616 when the Dutch vessel Eendracht made a short visit to the islands to trade.
By the 12th century Tongans, and the Tongan paramount chief, the Tuʻi Tonga, had a reputation across the central Pacific – from Niue, Samoa, Rotuma, Wallis & Futuna, New Caledonia to Tikopia – leading some historians to speak of a 'Tu'i Tonga Empire'. In the 15th century and again in the 17th, civil war erupted. Into this situation the first European explorers arrived, beginning in 1616 with the Dutch explorers Willem Schouten and Jacob Le Maire (who called on the northern island of Niuatoputapu), and in 1643 with Abel Tasman (who visited Tongatapu and Haʻapai). Later noteworthy European visitors included James Cook (British Navy) in 1773, 1774, and 1777, Alessandro Malaspina (Spanish Navy) in 1793, the first London missionaries in 1797, and the Wesleyan Methodist Rev. Walter Lawry in 1822.
In 1845, the ambitious young warrior, strategist, and orator Tāufaʻāhau united Tonga into a kingdom. He held the chiefly title of Tuʻi Kanokupolu, but had been baptised with the name Jiaoji ("George") in 1831. In 1875, with the help of missionary Shirley Waldemar Baker, he declared Tonga a constitutional monarchy, formally adopted the western royal style, emancipated the "serfs", enshrined a code of law, land tenure, and freedom of the press, and limited the power of the chiefs.
Tonga became a British-protected state under a Treaty of Friendship on 18 May 1900, when European settlers and rival Tongan chiefs tried to oust the second king. Within the British Empire, which posted no higher permanent representative on Tonga than a British Consul (1901–1970), Tonga formed part of the British Western Pacific Territories (under a colonial High Commissioner, residing on Fiji) from 1901 until 1952. Although under the protection of Britain, Tonga remained the only Pacific nation never to have given up its monarchical government – as did Tahiti and Hawaiʻi. The Tongan monarchy follows an uninterrupted succession of hereditary rulers from one family. In 1918 the influenza epidemic that spread through the world caused the deaths of 1,800 people in Tonga, approximately 8% of the population.
The Treaty of Friendship and Tonga's protectorate status ended in 1970 under arrangements established by Queen Salote Tupou III prior to her death in 1965. Tonga joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970 (atypically as an autochthonous monarchy, that is one with its own local monarch rather than that of the United Kingdom – compare Malaysia, Lesotho, and Swaziland), and became a member of the United Nations in September 1999. While exposed to colonial pressures, Tonga has never lost indigenous governance, a fact that makes Tonga unique in the Pacific and gives Tongans much pride, as well as confidence in their monarchical system. As part of cost cutting measures across the British Foreign Service, the British Government closed the British High Commission in Nukuʻalofa in March 2006, transferring representation of British interests in Tonga to the UK High Commissioner in Fiji. The last resident British High Commissioner was Paul Nessling.
Read more about this topic: Tonga
Other articles related to "history":
... The history of computing is longer than the history of computing hardware and modern computing technology and includes the history of methods intended for pen and paper or for ...
... The Skeptical School of early Chinese history, started by Gu Jiegang in the 1920s, was the first group of scholars within China to seriously question the traditional story of its early ... early Chinese history is a tale told and retold for generations, during which new elements were added to the front end" ...
... that gambling in some form or another has been seen in almost every society in history ... and Romans to Napoleon's France and Elizabethan England, much of history is filled with stories of entertainment based on games of chance ... In American history, early gambling establishments were known as saloons ...
... History of Charles XII, King of Sweden (1731) The Age of Louis XIV (1751) The Age of Louis XV (1746–1752) Annals of the Empire – Charlemagne, A.D ... II (1754) Essay on the Manners of Nations (or 'Universal History') (1756) History of the Russian Empire Under Peter the Great (Vol ... II 1763) History of the Parliament of Paris (1769) ...
... The breakup of Al-Andalus into the competing taifa kingdoms helped the long embattled Iberian Christian kingdoms gain the initiative ... The capture of the strategically central city of Toledo in 1085 marked a significant shift in the balance of power in favour of the Christian kingdoms ...
Famous quotes containing the word history:
“Racism is an ism to which everyone in the world today is exposed; for or against, we must take sides. And the history of the future will differ according to the decision which we make.”
—Ruth Benedict (18871948)
“All things are moral. That soul, which within us is a sentiment, outside of us is a law. We feel its inspiration; out there in history we can see its fatal strength.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“All history attests that man has subjected woman to his will, used her as a means to promote his selfish gratification, to minister to his sensual pleasures, to be instrumental in promoting his comfort; but never has he desired to elevate her to that rank she was created to fill. He has done all he could to debase and enslave her mind; and now he looks triumphantly on the ruin he has wrought, and say, the being he has thus deeply injured is his inferior.”
—Sarah M. Grimke (17921873)