Tuvalu , formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. Its nearest neighbors are Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa and Fiji. It comprises four reef islands and five true atolls. Its population of 12,373 makes it the third-least-populated sovereign state in the world, with only Vatican City and Nauru 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 at 0.44 km2 (0.17 sq mi), Monaco at 1.95 km2 (0.75 sq mi) and Nauru at 21 km2 (8.1 sq mi).
seal of Tuvalu
The first inhabitants of Tuvalu were Polynesian people. The islands came under the UK's sphere of influence in the late 19th century. The Ellice Islands were administered by Britain as part of a protectorate from 1892 to 1916 and as part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands 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 upon independence. Tuvalu became fully independent within the Commonwealth in 1978.
the assembly building shown in the seal
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. Possible evidence of fire in the Caves of Nanumanga may indicate human occupation thousands of years before that.
Polynesian custom of burying ancestors on the residence lot
More Photos of Burial Practices
Tuvalu was first sighted by Europeans in 1568 with the arrival of Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira from Spain who also encountered the island of Nui (atoll) but was unable to land. The next Europeans to appear did not do so until the late 1700s when explorers reached the area. By the early 1800s, whalers were roving the Pacific though visiting Tuvalu only infrequently because of the difficulties of landing ships on the atolls. No settlements had been established by them.
Peruvian slave raiders ("blackbirders") combed the Pacific between 1862 and 1864 and Tuvalu was one of the hardest-hit Pacific island groups with over 400 people taken from Funafuti and Nukulaelae, none of whom returned.
Protestant Church of Tuvalu
More Photos of Sunday services
In 1865 the London Missionary Society, Protestant Congregationalists, began their process of evangelization of Tuvalu and the people's conversion to Christianity was complete by the 1920s. Also in the late 1800s, European traders began to live on the islands hoping to profit from local resources.
Seventhday Adventist Church
More Photos of Saturday church
In 1892 the islands became part of the British protectorate known as the Ellice Islands. The protectorate was incorporated into the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony in 1916. In 1943, during World War II, Tuvalu was selected as an operations base for Allied forces battling the Japanese in the Pacific. Thousands of marines were stationed there until December 1945.
In 1974 ethnic differences within the colony caused the Polynesians of the Ellice Islands to vote for separation from the Micronesians of the Gilbert Islands (to become Kiribati). The following year the Ellice Islands became the separate British colony of Tuvalu. Independence was granted in 1978.
Government Office Building
Tuvalu Independence Day is celebrated on 1 October. In 1979 Tuvalu signed a treaty of friendship with the United States that recognized Tuvalu's rightful possession of four small islands formerly claimed by the United States.
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 South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (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. While some commentators have called for the relocation of the population of Tuvalu to Australia, New Zealand, or Kioa (Fiji), the former Prime Minister Maatia Toafa 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 rumors that New Zealand has agreed to accept an annual quota of 75 evacuees, the annual residence quota of 75 Tuvaluans under the Pacific Access Category (and 50 places for people from Kiribati) replaced the previous Work Schemes from the two countries and are not related to environmental concerns.
Tuvalu is a constitutional monarchy and Commonwealth realm, with Queen Elizabeth II serving as the country's head of state, 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. 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"). 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.
his parking spot
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.
enjoying the lagoon
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 patrol. HMTSS stands for His/Her Majesty's Tuvaluan State Ship or His/Her Majesty's Tuvalu Surveillance Ship.
Tuvalu's small population is distributed across nine islands, five of which are atolls. The smallest island, Niulakita, was uninhabited until it was resettled by people from Niutao in 1949.
Tuvalu maintains close relations with Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. It has diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan); the ROC maintains the only resident embassy in Tuvalu and has a large assistance program in the islands. Tuvalu became a member of United Nations in 2000 and maintains a mission at the UN in New York. A major international priority for Tuvalu in the UN, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg 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. In December 2009 the islands stalled talks on climate change in Copenhagen, 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." It also is a member of the Asian Development Bank. Tuvalu is a party to a treaty of friendship with the United States, signed soon after independence and ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1983, under which the United States renounced prior territorial claims to four Tuvaluan islands under the Guano Act.
Tuvalu consists of four reef islands and five true atolls. Its small, scattered group of atolls has 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 land is very low lying with narrow coral atolls. Funafuti is the largest atoll of the nine low reef 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. An annular reef rim surrounds the lagoon, with several natural reef channels.
The highest elevation is 4.5 metres (15 ft) above sea level, which gives Tuvalu the second-lowest maximum elevation of any country (after the Maldives). Because of this low elevation, the islands that make up this nation may be threatened by any future sea level rise. Under such circumstances, the population may evacuate to New Zealand, Niue or the Fijian island of Kioa. Additionally, Tuvalu is affected by what is known as a king tide, which can raise the sea level higher than a normal high tide. In the future, this may threaten to submerge the nation entirely. Tuvalu has very poor land and the soil is hardly usable for agriculture. Drinking water is mostly obtained from rainwater collected on roofs and stored in tanks; these systems are often poorly maintained, resulting in lack of water. Tuvalu has westerly gales and heavy rain from November to March and tropical temperatures moderated by easterly winds from March to November.
packages from the rest of the World
Tuvalu has almost no natural resources, and its main form of income consists of foreign aid. Virtually the only jobs in the islands that pay a steady wage or salary are with the government. Subsistence farming and fishing remain the primary economic activities, particularly off the capital island of Funafuti. Government revenues largely come from the sale of stamps and coins, fishing licenses and worker remittances.
Tuvalu National Library and Archives
About 800 Tuvaluans previously worked in Nauru in the phosphate mining industry or aboard foreign ships as sailors. When phosphate mining ceased in Nauru, 378 Tuvaluans were stranded in the country until they were repatriated in 2006 by a joint program in which Australia, New Zealand, and the EU paid most of the cost of their return passage, and Taiwan paid the back wages they were owed.
Coconut Wireless Internet Cafe
Substantial income is received annually from the Tuvalu Trust Fund, which was established in 1987 by Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom and supported also by Japan and South Korea. This fund grew from an initial $17 million to over $35 million in 1999. The US government is also a major revenue source for Tuvalu, with 1999 payments from a 1988 treaty on fisheries at about $9 million, a total which is expected to rise annually.
Kingdom Hall of Jerovah's Witnesses
In 1998, Tuvalu began deriving revenue from use of its area code for "900" lines and from the sale of its ".tv" Internet domain name.
Because of the country's remoteness, tourism does not provide much income; a hundred tourists are estimated to visit Tuvalu annually
Text from Wikipedia
where the matters of government are discussed
now clear of tables
discussing the fare
Bus going North (view of Lagoon)
Busing going South (view of Oceanside)
People and Places