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Tonga

Tongans, World Trade Organization, WTO, monarchy, political party

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Tonga, independent island nation in the southern Pacific Ocean, located approximately 650 km (approximately 400 mi) southeast of Fiji and approximately 1,850 km (approximately 1,150 mi) northeast of New Zealand. Tonga is the only remaining Polynesian monarchy. Nukualofa is the country’s capital, chief port, and largest town.

Recent Developments

Tonga’s relatively high level of education has made some Tongans dissatisfied with the current political structure. Insisting that the monarchy in its present form has outlived its time, these Tongans organized a political organization, the Pro-Democracy Movement, in November 1992 and held a prodemocracy convention that same month. It was boycotted by the monarchy and the government refused to allow publicity of the event or grant visas to foreign speakers. The Pro-Democracy Movement formed the People’s Party in 1994, Tonga’s first political party. In 2007 Tonga became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Membership in the WTO was expected to help Tonga improve its economy by developing trade ties with a wide range of nations.

Contributors

Kiste, Robert C., B.A., Ph.D. Professor of Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific Studies and Director of the Center for Pacific Island Studies, University of Hawaii. Co-editor of Tides of History: The Pacific Islands in the Twentieth Century.

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