Tonga Facts
Tonga Facts

29 Exotic Tonga Facts

James Israelsen
By James Israelsen, Associate Writer
Published February 2, 2023
  • Two parallel island chains constitute the kingdom of Tonga.[6]
  • After pirates kidnapped the entire male population of the Tongan island of 'Atu in the 18th century, the king of Tonga had the remaining women and children moved and declared the island taboo.[6]
  • The Kingdom of Tonga is the only Polynesian kingdom that has never been controlled by European colonialists.[6]
  • Throughout its history, Tonga has exiled its criminals by sending them off alone in a boat.[6]
  • The island chains that make up the kingdom of Tonga extend for over 200 miles in the Pacific Ocean.[6]
  • The capital of Tonga is Nuku'alofa.[6]
  • In Tongan villages, it is common practice for children to be raised by older relatives rather than by their biological parents.[6]
  • The Tongan lifestyle is mostly the same today as it has been for hundreds of years, with most people practicing subsistence farming.[2]
  • Singing religious hymns and praying regularly are daily practices for most Tongans.[6]
  • Tonga Volcanos
    A Tonga volcano underwent a massive eruption in January of 2022
  • Four of Tonga's islands are active volcanoes.[1]
  • The eruption of the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai volcano on January 15, 2022, was the largest atmospheric explosion ever recorded. Amazingly, there were only three recorded deaths.[3]
  • There are two artificially-made islands in the kingdom of Tonga.[6]
  • Tongans show respect by not looking directly into a person's eyes.[2]
  • At a traditional Tongan feast, people sit on woven mats and eat without plates or utensils.[2]
  • The Tongan word for white people from Western cultures is palangi, which means "people from the sky."[2]
  • Almost one-fifth of Tongans are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons).[1]
  • The Tongan island of Fonuafo'ou has disappeared and re-appeared several times over the past few centuries; it is currently entirely submerged in the ocean.[5]
  • There are no rivers on any of Tonga's islands.[1]
  • Humpback whales travel from the Antarctic to Tonga in order to give birth, raise their young, and breed.[2]
  • Tonga's King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV holds the Guinness World Record for being the world's heaviest monarch. He weighed 460 pounds before adopting a healthier lifestyle, through which he lost around 40% of his weight.[2]
  • There are around 170 islands in the Kingdom of Tonga.[2]
  • Tonga Map
    Tonga is one of the many nations making up the far-flung region of Oceania

  • Another name for Tonga is the "Friendly Islands."[1]
  • Tongans are genetically closely related to Samoans and other Polynesians.[1]
  • Tongan is the primary language of Tonga, while English is taught as a second language.[1]
  • The traditional Tongan diet features cassava, yams, taro leaves, and fish.[4]
  • Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai's 2022 eruption created tsunamis, sent shock waves around the world, and unleashed a giant plume of ash into the upper atmosphere.[3]
  • Tongans celebrate the birthday of their king on July 4.[4]
  • Tonga is a constitutional monarchy.[4]
  • Lakalaka is a traditional form of Tongan art performance. It is a vibrant dance that blends choreography, oratory, singing, and instrumentation.[4]
  • Cultural Tongan Facts INFOGRAPHIC
    Tonga Infographic Thumbnail

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