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Tonga:
Geography

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Tonga Page


Background
Definition
Tonga - unique among Pacific nations - never completely lost its indigenous governance. The archipelagos of "The Friendly Islands" were united into a Polynesian kingdom in 1845. Tonga became a constitutional monarchy in 1875 and a British protectorate in 1900; it withdrew from the protectorate and joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970. Tonga remains the only monarchy in the Pacific.
Location
Definition
Oceania, archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand
Geographic coordinates
Definition
20 00 S, 175 00 W
Map references
Definition
Oceania
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 748 sq km
land: 718 sq km
water: 30 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
four times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
419 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate
Definition
tropical; modified by trade winds; warm season (December to May), cool season (May to December)
Terrain
Definition
most islands have limestone base formed from uplifted coral formation; others have limestone overlying volcanic base
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Kao Island 1,033 m
Natural resources
Definition
fish, fertile soil
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 20%
permanent crops: 14.67%
other: 65.33% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
NA
Natural hazards
Definition
cyclones (October to April); earthquakes and volcanic activity on Fonuafo'ou
Environment - current issues
Definition
deforestation results as more and more land is being cleared for agriculture and settlement; some damage to coral reefs from starfish and indiscriminate coral and shell collectors; overhunting threatens native sea turtle populations
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
archipelago of 169 islands (36 inhabited)


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