Where is Tonga?

Where is Tonga?

Tonga, properly known as the Kingdom of Tonga, is an archipelago south of Samoa. Also called "The Friendly Islands," Tonga comprises of 176 islands, most of which are uninhabited. The capital of Tonga is Nuku'afola, which is also the country's largest city, and can be found on the main island of Tongatapu.

Geography

Tonga is located in the South Pacific Ocean, just shy of 2000 miles east of Brisbane, Australia. It covers a surface area of approximately 290 square miles, but the islands are scattered over an area of 270,000 square miles of ocean. The islands are organized in a 500-mile line that runs North and South.

The islands of Tonga can be categorized into four major groups. First, there's the Tongatapu Group, which is the central cluster of islands. The largest island, which shares its namesake, and the capital city can be found in this group. Located in the southernmost part of the country, the Tongatapu experiences a colder climate than other parts of the country.

The second group is referred to as the Ha'apai Group, which consists of 62 islands that are further divided into an east and west group. The majority of these islands would be considered low coral atolls.

The third group is known as the Vava'u Group, which is a huge harbor that's landlocked which are best navigated by small boats. It boasts a year-round, tropical climate, and regularly pulls large numbers of tourists.

The fourth is known as the Tongan Niuas, a group of islands in the northernmost part of the country, consisting mainly of sparsely populated volcanic islands. Mostly untouched, the 1600 inhabitants continue to hold to their traditional customs, which is reflected in their language that more closely resembles Samoan than it does Tongan.

Population

The population of Tonga is approximately 103,000, nearly 2/3rds of which reside on the main island Tongatapu. The ethnicity of the vast majority of Tongans are Polynesian, with around 2% of the remainder being different Pacific Islanders, or having a small mix of European heritage. The most widely spoken languages are English and Tongan, though some isolated language variations can be found.

Obesity is a significant concern for Tonga, as it is with many Polynesian islands. Tonga ranks in the top 5 of the world's most obese countries, with more than half of the adult population being considered obese.

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