General information: The archipelago of the Friendship Islands was incorporated into the Polynesian kingdom in 1845. It became a constitutional monarchy in 1875 and a British protectorate in 1900. The state of Tonga gained independence in 1970 and became a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
Location: Oceania, an archipelago in the South Pacific, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand.
Geographical coordinates: 20° 00′ S. latitude, 175° 00’W
Reference map: Oceania.
Area: total: 748 sq. km.; land surface area: 718 km2; water surface area: 30 sq. km.
Comparative area: four times the area of Washington, DC.
Land borders: 0 km.
Coastline: 419 km.
Maritime claims: continental shelf: to a depth of 200 m or to the depth of field development; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: tropical; moderated by the trade winds; hot season from December to May, cool season from May to December.
Terrain: Most of the islands have a limestone base formed by corals; others are formed from limestone but have a volcanic base.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m; highest point: unnamed point on Khao Island 1,033 m
Natural resources: fish, fertile soil.
Land use: arable land: 24%; cultivated land: 43%; pastures: 6%; forests and plantations: 11%; others: 16% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: no data.
Natural hazards: cyclones (October to April); earthquakes and volcanic activity on Fonuafoou Island.
Current environmental issues: deforestation from land cleared for agriculture and settlement, some damage to reefs by starfish and indiscriminate collection of coral and shells; over-harvesting threatens sea turtle populations.
International environmental agreements: member: Biodiversity, Climate change, Desertification, Law of the sea, Marine life conservation, Nuclear test ban, Ozone layer protection, Pollution from ships; signed but not ratified: no.
Note to the section “Geography”: an archipelago of 170 islands (36 inhabited).
Population: 104,227 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 40.93% (male 21,739; female 20,916); 15 to 64 years old: 54.99% (male 28,231; female 29,082); over 65: 4.08% (male 1,912; female 2,347) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 1.79% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 23.59 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 5.74 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: 0 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; under 15: 1.04 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.97 male/female; over 65: 0.81 male/female; for the general population: 0.99 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 14.08 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 68.25 years; men: 65.83 years; women: 70.78 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 3 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of the adult population infected with HIV: no data available.
Number of people infected with HIV: no data.
Mortality due to AIDS: no data available.
Nationality: noun: Tongan; adjective: Tongan;
Ethnic groups: Polynesians, about 300 Europeans.
Believers: Christians (about 30,000 adherents of the Free Wesleyan Church).
Language(s): Tongan, English.
Literacy: definition: persons who can read and write Tongan and/or English; for the general population: 98.5%; men: 98.4%; women: 98.7% (1996 est.).
Common long form: Kingdom of Tonga;
conventional short form: Tonga; former: Islands of Friendship.
State structure: hereditary constitutional monarchy. See politicsezine.com to know more about Tonga Political System.
Administrative division: three island groups: Haapai, Tongatapu, Vavau.
Independence: from June 4, 1970 (from British protectorate).
National holiday: Independence Day, June 4 (1970).
Constitution: adopted November 4, 1875, amended January 1, 1967
Legal system: based on English law.
Suffrage: from 21 years old; universal.
head of state: King Taufaahau TUPOU IV (Taufa’ahau TUPOU IV) (since December 16, 1965);
head of government: Prime Minister Prince Lavaka ata ULUKALALA (since February 2000) and Deputy Prime Minister Tevita TOPOU (since January 2001);
government: cabinet appointed by the monarch; note: there is also a Privy Council, which consists of the monarch and the cabinet; elections: no; hereditary monarchy; the prime minister and deputy prime minister are appointed for life by the monarch.
Legislature: unicameral Legislative Assembly (Fale Alea) (30 seats: 12 reserved for ex officio cabinet ministers, 9 for nobles elected by the country’s 33 notables, and 9 elected by popular vote; term of office – 3 years); elections: last held in March 1999 (next to be held in 2002); election results: distribution of votes: pro-democracy candidates 40%; distribution of seats: pro-democracy deputies 5, traditionalists 4.
Judiciary: Supreme Court, judges appointed by the monarch; Court of Appeal (Privy Council with the participation of the President of the Supreme Court).
Political parties and leaders: Movement for Human Rights and Democracy (Huliki WATAB, Chairman, Viliami FUKOFUKA, President, ‘Akilisi POHIVA, Vice President).
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: АСР, AsDB, С, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat ( nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (observer).
Diplomatic representation in the USA: Tonga does not have an embassy in the US; Ambassador Fetu’utolo TUPOU is in London; Address: Embassy of the Kingdom of Tonga, c/o Tonga High Commission, 36 Molyneux Street, London W1H 6AB; phone:  (171) 724-5828; fax:  (171) 723-9074; consulates general: San Francisco.
US Diplomatic Mission: The US does not have an embassy in Tonga; the ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tonga.
Flag description: red with a red cross on a white rectangle in the upper corner from the hoist side.