A group of more than 170 islands spread over an area of the South Pacific roughly the size of Japan, Tonga is the last Polynesian monarchy.
A deeply conservative, Christian country, Tonga voted in its first popularly elected parliament in 2010, ending 165 years of feudal rule.
In 2015, the country elected its first non-noble prime minister.
A former British protectorate, Tonga became fully independent in 1970, though it was never formally colonised.
Tonga has no strategic or mineral resources and relies on agriculture, fishing and the money sent home by Tongans living abroad, many of them in New Zealand. Unemployment is high, particularly among the young.
Endowed with tropical beaches, rainforest and active volcanoes, it has a developing tourist industry – its main source of hard currency.
- Kingdom of Tonga
- Capital: Nuku’alofa
- Population 105,000
- Area 748 sq km (289 sq miles)
- Major languagesTongan, English
- Major religion Christianity
- Life expectancy 70 years (men), 75 years (women)
- Currency Pa’anga