OFFICIAL NAME: Tuvalu
CAPITAL: Fongafale on Funafuti Atoll
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Constitutional Monarchy
AREA: 24 Sq Km (9.2 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 10,300
LOCATION AND GEOGRAPHY: Tuvalu, formerly the Ellice Islands,
is a group of nine islands in the Southwest Pacific Ocean
located 1,050 km (652 mi) north of Fiji and 4,020 km (2,498
mi) northeast of Sydney, Australia. The island group is
bound by Fiji to the south, Kiribati to the north and the
Solomon Islands to the west. The coral island chain extends
for 579 km (360 mi) and consists of the islands of Funafuti,
Nanumea, Nanumanga, Niulakita, Niuto, Nui, Nukufetau, Nukulailai
and Vaitupu. All the islands are low lying with elevations
no greater than 4.6 metres (15 feet) above sea level. Land
Use; agricultural-cultivated 74%, scrub 16%, other 10% (1987)
CLIMATE: Tuvalu has a tropical maritime climate characterized
by uniformly hot temperatures moderated by Easterly trade winds. Average
annual precipitation is 3,048 mm (120 inches) while the average annual
temperature is 26.7 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit).
PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are the Polynesians, who
are closely related to the Samoans and Tokelavans. Other minorities include
mixed I-Kiribati, pure I-Kiribati and other Europeans and Pacific Islanders.
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with 97% of the population members
of the Protestant Church of Tuvalu. Other religious minority groups include
Roman Catholics and Seven Day Adventists.
LANGUAGES: The principal languages are English and Tuvaluan,
a Samoan-Polynesian related dialect. Also I-Kiribati is spoken on the island
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1990: The Gilbert and Ellice Islands
were annexed as British Crown Colonies in Nov. 1915. In 1974 the Ellice
Islands began a move towards self government and on Oct. 1, 1975 separated
from the Gilbert Islands to form the dependency of Tuvalu. In 1978 an independence
constitution was approved by the United Kingdom and on Oct. 1, 1978 Tuvalu
was granted full independence within the Commonwealth with Toalipi Lauti
as Prime Minister. In 1981 Lauti was succeeded by Dr. Tomasi Puapua and
in 1984 Tuvalu established diplomatic relations with Kiribati (formerly
Gilbert Islands). In 1985 Prime Minister Puapua was reelected and in 1989
was succeeded by Bikenibeu Paeniu.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Tuvalu Dollar (Tuv) divided
into 100 Cents.
ECONOMY: Gross Domestic Product; USD $8,750,00 (1990). Public
Debt; N/A. Imports; USD $6,700,000 (1992). Exports; USD $5,200,000 (1992).
Tourism Receipts; USD $300,000 (1993). Balance of Trade; AUD -$5,158,000
(1989). Economically Active Population; 5,910 or 65.3% of total population
(1991). Unemployed; 4.0% (1979).
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the US,
other Pacific Islands as well as Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Bananas, Breadfruit, Coconuts, Copra, Fish,
Papaya, Root Crops.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Fishing, Handicrafts, Soap Manufacturing, Tourism.
MAIN EXPORTS: Clothing, Copra, Footwear.