CAPITAL: Fongafale on Funafuti Atoll
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Constitutional Monarchy
AREA: 24 Sq Km (9.2 Sq Mi)

Direct Link to Political MapDirect Link to Physical MapLOCATION 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 of Nui.

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.

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