Health care was significantly expanded during the 1980s, and in 1990 6.6 percent of the state budget’s expenditure on health care was spent. In Tonga, in 1993 there were 1 doctor per 2,139 residents. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of TON and acronym for Tonga. The social protection network exists within the family, and only 1 percent of the state budget was allocated in 1990 for social spending.
Traditionally, there are three social classes in Tonga: the royal, the nobility and the others. Society has clearly feudal traits. All land belongs to the Crown, which distributes it among the nobility in the form of grants. At a local level, a village is governed by a noble chief along with a village bailiff. The nobility should distribute the land so that every male Tongan over the age of 16 has access to 3.3 ha of land or land in a village or town. But the high birth rates have meant that the land is no longer sufficient for this more than 120-year-old distribution system. Many are now without soil. Unemployment and underemployment are growing. The state is propagating for family planning. Check to see Tonga population.
Archipelago of Oceania (Polynesia) between 173 ° and 177 ° long. O., 17th and 23rd lat. S., about 400 km. ESE. of Fiji, 560 km. SSO. of Samoa.
The archipelago is made up of about 150 islands, islets, and numerous rocks (with a total area of 997 sq. Km.), Resting on a submarine base which, towards the east, rapidly descends to a depth of over 9000 meters (Tonga trench, 9184 m.).
The islands, arranged in two parallel rows, with an approximate direction SSW.-NNE., Form two clearly distinct groups due to the different physical structure and the constitution of the land. The eastern part, to which the greatest number of islands and those of greatest extension belong, is made up of coral limestone, with some volcanic nucleus; the soil, made up of red clay and coral sand, overlapped by a remarkable and fertile layer of humus, allows for luxuriant vegetation; the islands, generally flat, are crossed by reliefs of modest elevation that do not exceed 400 meters at any point.
In contrast to these are the islands of the western group, which continue to N. the volcanic axis of New Zealand and Kermadec: they are islands of volcanic origin (with five volcanoes still active), mainly composed of trachytic and basaltic rocks; all of modest extension, and covered with woods, reach considerable heights (on the island Kao there is the maximum height of the whole archipelago: 1523 meters). The islands belong to this group: Tofua (55 sq. Km.), Active volcano of considerable height (854 m.), Kao (11 sq. Km.), Located to the NE. of Tofua, Late (16 sq. km.), Nukualofa (Falcon), recently re-emerged (1927) after having been submerged for a long time following a submarine eruption, Tonga and Huanga Haabai, all more or less active volcanoes.
The islands of the eastern group are divided, in turn, into four main groups: Vavau, Haapai, Nomuka, Tongatabu.
The Vavau group includes numerous islets, rocks and the island of Vavau, the second largest in the archipelago (145 sq km); the southern coast is cut by the deep bay of Taulonga, an excellent anchorage. To S. of the former is the Haapai group, consisting of about forty islands of modest extension, with a total area of 65 sq km. Nomuka (27 sq km), the most important island of the group of the same name, has a triangular shape, with coasts bordered by rocks that hinder navigation: the slightly undulating terrain (maximum height 30 meters) is fertile and well cultivated. Tongatabu, the largest island of the entire archipelago (331 sq km), also has an almost triangular shape; the very fertile soil is covered with thick vegetation (extensive palm groves). Nukualofa, a typical indigenous town, on the northern coast of the island, it is the capital of the archipelago; numerous other villages are scattered inland, including notable Mua, the former residence of the indigenous kings. A SE. of Tongatabu extends Eua (170 sq. km.), whose limestone terraces, covered with luxuriant vegetation, reach 320 meters.
The islets of Kaafa, Ata, and the Pelorus reef, located to the SW, also belong to the Tongatabu group. of Eua, which form the southernmost lands of the entire archipelago.
Also part of the archipelago are the island groups of Ninafoou Ninatobutabu (Outlying Islands), located considerably further north than the main group and separated from it by deep pits.
The climate is warm temperate (February 26 °, August 20 °; Tongatabu, annual average 22 °); the rains are frequent, which fall mainly in February and March and reach an annual average of about 2 m. The Tongas are subjected to the action of the SE trade winds. in the winter, while in the summer the NE winds rise. In February and March the formation of violent cyclones that devastate the archipelago is frequent.
The flora, similar to that of the next archipelagos, Fiji and Samoa, but less luxuriant than in these, presents numerous varieties of tree ferns and palms, bread trees, coconut palms.
The population, which in 1931 was 29,611 residents, Is made up mostly of Tongans, some hundreds of mestizos and individuals from other Pacific islands and 480 Europeans. The residents are devoted to fishing, agriculture and trade: sponges and copra are the only products exported.
Regular shipping lines, operated by the Union Steamship Company, connect the archipelago to Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand and Sydney. The capital, Nukualofa, is in communication by submarine telegraph cables with Fiji and Samoa.