Tonga ((:ˈtoŋa); Tongan: ''Puleʻanga Fakatuʻi ʻo Tonga''), officially the Kingdom of Tonga, is a Polynesian sovereign state and archipelago comprising 177 islands with a total surface area of about scattered over of the southern Pacific Ocean, of which 52 islands are inhabited by its 103,000 people.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Tourism Tonga - The Best Year-round South Pacific Holiday Destination )〕 Seventy percent of Tongans reside on the main island of Tongatapu.
Tonga stretches over about in a north-south line – about a third of the distance from New Zealand to Hawaii. It is surrounded by Fiji and Wallis and Futuna (France) to the northwest, Samoa to the northeast, Niue to the east, Kermadec (part of New Zealand) to the southwest, and New Caledonia (France) and Vanuatu to the farther west.
Tonga became known as the Friendly Islands because of the congenial reception accorded to Captain James Cook on his first visit in 1773. He arrived at the time of the ''inasi'' festival, the yearly donation of the First Fruits to the Tui Tonga (the islands' paramount chief) and so received an invitation to the festivities. According to the writer William Mariner, the chiefs wanted to kill Cook during the gathering but could not agree on a plan.〔Mariner, William and Martin, John (1817). ''An account of the natives of the Tonga islands in the south Pacific ocean: With an original grammar and vocabulary of their language. Compiled and arranged from the extensive communications of Mr. William Mariner, several years' resident in those islands'', Volume 2, (pp. 64–65 ). Retrieved 3 November 2010.〕
Tonga has never lost its sovereignty to a foreign power.〔(). The Commonwealth.〕 In 2010, Tonga took a decisive step towards becoming a fully functioning constitutional monarchy, after legislative reforms paved the way for its first partial representative elections.
In many Polynesian languages, Tongan included, the word ''tonga'' means "south", as the archipelago is the southernmost group of islands of central Polynesia. In Tongan, the name is pronounced (:ˈtoŋa),〔Churchward, C.M. (1985) ''Tongan grammar'', Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-908717-05-9〕 and it is commonly pronounced as or in English. The name of ''Tonga'' is cognate to the Hawaiian region of ''Kona''.
(詳細はAustronesian-speaking group linked to the archaeological construct known as the Lapita cultural complex reached and colonised Tonga around 1500–1000 BCE.〔Kirch, Patrick Vinton (1997) ''The Lapita Peoples'', Wiley, ISBN 1577180364.〕 Scholars have much debated the exact dates of the initial settlement of Tonga, but recently it has been thought that the first settlers came to the oldest town, Nukuleka, about 826 BCE, ± 8 years.〔(New dating pinpoints Tonga's Lapita settlement ), Radio Australia, 12 November 2012〕 Not much is known before European contact because of the lack of a writing system, but oral history has survived and been recorded after the arrival of the Europeans. The Tongan people first encountered Europeans in 1616 when the Dutch vessel ''Eendracht'' made a short visit to trade.
By the 12th century, Tongans and the Tongan paramount chief, the Tuʻi Tonga, had a reputation across the central Pacific—from Niue, Samoa, Rotuma, Wallis & Futuna, New Caledonia to Tikopia—leading some historians to speak of a Tuʻi Tonga Empire. In the 15th century and again in the 17th, civil war erupted.
Into this situation the first European explorers arrived, beginning in 1616 with the Dutch explorers Willem Schouten and Jacob Le Maire (who called on the northern island of Niuatoputapu), and in 1643 with Abel Tasman (who visited Tongatapu and Haapai). Later noteworthy European visitors included James Cook (Royal Navy) in 1773, 1774, and 1777, Alessandro Malaspina (Spanish Navy) in 1793, the first London missionaries in 1797, and the Wesleyan Methodist Rev. Walter Lawry in 1822.
In 1845, the ambitious young warrior, strategist, and orator Tāufaāhau united Tonga into a kingdom. He held the chiefly title of Tui Kanokupolu, but had been baptised with the name ''Siaosi'' ("George") in 1831. In 1875, with the help of missionary Shirley Waldemar Baker, he declared Tonga a constitutional monarchy; formally adopted the western royal style; emancipated the "serfs"; enshrined a code of law, land tenure, and freedom of the press; and limited the power of the chiefs.
Tonga became a protected state under a Treaty of Friendship with Britain on 18 May 1900, when European settlers and rival Tongan chiefs tried to oust the second king. The treaty posted no higher permanent representative on Tonga than a British Consul (1901–1970). Although under the protection of Britain, Tonga maintained its sovereignty, and remained the only Pacific nation never to have given up its monarchical government (as did Tahiti and Hawaii). The Tongan monarchy follows an uninterrupted succession of hereditary rulers from one family. The 1918 flu pandemic killed 1,800 Tongans, around eight per cent of the residents.〔
The Treaty of Friendship and Tonga's protection status ended in 1970 under arrangements established by Queen Salote Tupou III prior to her death in 1965. Tonga joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970 (atypically as an autochthonous monarchy, with its own local monarch rather than that of the United Kingdom—compare Malaysia, Lesotho, and Swaziland), and became a member of the United Nations in September 1999. While exposed to colonial pressures, Tonga has never lost indigenous governance, which makes it unique in the Pacific and gives Tongans confidence in their monarchical system and much pride.
As part of cost-cutting measures across the British Foreign Service, the British Government closed the British High Commission in Nukualofa in March 2006, transferring representation of British interests to the High Commissioner in Fiji. The last resident British High Commissioner was Paul Nessling.〔"
(The sun finally sets on our men in paradise )", ''The Daily Telegraph'', 21 March 2005.〕
抄文引用元・出典: フリー百科事典『 ウィキペディア（Wikipedia）』