Tuvalu State Overview

Tuvalu State Overview

According to abbreviationfinder, Tuvalu is an island located in the Pacific Ocean, approximately halfway between Hawaii and Australia. The closest countries to Tuvalu are Kiribati, Samoa, and Fiji. It consists of 4 coral reefs and 4 atolls (oceanic coral islands that can be ring-shaped). It is the independent nation with the least number of residents.


The word Tuvalu means 8 Islands and comes from the local indigenous language, and until the year 1949 in which the indigenous people populated the island of Niulakita, they were the islands that had a permanent and stable population. It is known that formerly its name was Ellice Islands.


Since the beginning of the first millennium BC, when people moved to it from the countries of Tonga and Samoa. These islands were discovered by the Spanish in 1568, with the arrival of Álvaro de Mendaña and Neyra. Some slave traders and whalers from Peru frequently visited the islands.

In the year 1865 the Missionary Society of London, Protestant religion, then began the process of evangelization of Tuvalu by which he converted the population to Christianity completely in the early 1920s. Also in the late 1800s, European merchants began to settle on the islands in the hope of benefiting from local resources. As early as 1892, the islands became part of the British protectorate of Gilbert and Ellice Islands, which became a colony in 1915.

During World War II, United States Marines landed at Funafuti on October 2, 1942. By that time the Japanese had already occupied Tarawa and other islands in what is now Kiribati. A naval construction battalion (“bees del mar” or “Seabees” in English) built a main airstrip at Funafuti and satellite airfields at Nanumea and Nukufetau. The runway built in Funafuti continues to be used today at the Funafuti International Airport.

Civilian casualties during World War II were rare. On one occasion in April 1943, during a Japanese bombing, 680 people took refuge in a church. Fortunately for them, an American soldier (Corporal Ladd) convinced them to go out and take refuge in trenches. Shortly after a bomb destroyed the church. Tuvalu served as a base of support for the offensives against the Makin and Tarawa atolls.

Ethnic differences in 1974 within the colony caused the Polynesians of the Ellice Islands to decide to separate from the Micronesians of the Gilbert Islands (later Kiribati). The following year, the Ellice Islands became the British colony of Tuvalu. Independence was granted in 1978. Tuvalu signed a treaty of friendship with the United States in 1979 that recognizes Tuvaluan’s legitimate possession of four small islands previously claimed by the United States. Between 1995 – 1997, Tuvalu adopted a new flag but, eventually, the old Tuvalu Flag, which is the one it has today, was restored.

According to the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, his country is threatened by climate change and they demand responsibility from polluting countries and the UN for which its residents will have to urgently decide on two aspects: about maintaining the constitutional monarchy or turning Tuvalu into a Republic, and on the advisability of relocating its 11,810 residents to New Zealand, since the islands live on continuous alert due to cyclones and other meteorological phenomena and run the risk of flooding due to rising sea levels. While some people have suggested for the relocation of the population from Tuvalu to Australia, New Zealand, or Kioa (Fiji), former Prime Minister Maatia Toafa said that his government does not consider rising sea levels as a threat from which the entire population would have to be evacuated.


Tuvalu in one of the smallest countries in the world, in fact, the fourth smallest, only surpasses the Vatican City (0.44 km²); Monaco (1.95 km²) and Nauru (21 km²). On this island there are also very poor lands, it is barely usable for agriculture since there is no drinking water.

Although Tuvalu technically has no administrative subdivision – its population is too small (estimated at 11,000 in 2004) – the country can be divided into 9 islands, or rather atolls, midway between Hawaii and Australia. Originally, only eight of these islands were inhabited, hence the name Tuvalu, which means “eight islands” in the Tuvaluan language. The nine islands are: Funafuti, Nanumea, Nanumanga, Niutao, Nui, Niulakita, Nukufetau, Nukulaelae, and Vaitupu.

The island is at risk of flooding as a result of rising sea levels, so its population should be evacuated to New Zealand or Niue. It has a maximum height of 5 meters above sea level, being, after the Maldives (2 meters above sea level), [2] the country with the lowest maximum height.


The climate is tropical maritime, moderated by the trade winds from March to November, in the remaining months of the year rains abound and the typical vegetation is made up of palm trees (coconut trees).

Government and politics

Tuvalu is a constitutional monarchy belonging to the Commonwealth, in which Queen Elizabeth II is officially recognized as Queen of Tuvalu. It is represented in Tuvalu by a Governor General, appointed on the proposal of the Prime Minister. The local parliament, or Fale I Fono, has 15 members and is elected every four years. Its members elect a Prime Minister who is the head of government. The Cabinet is appointed by the Governor General, on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Each island has its own chief or Ulu-Aliki, and various sub-chiefs (Alikis) in addition to the elders. The elders together form a council of elders or fenua te Sina (literally: gray-hair). In the past, another caste, namely that of the priests (tofuga) was also one of the decision makers. The sinas or fenuas, Aliki and Ulu-Aliki form the authority at the local level. The Ulu-Aliki is selected on the basis of their family ancestry, and their powers are shared with the pule or kaupule, which is a group formed by the elected presidents, one in each atoll. There are no official political parties and election campaigns are largely based on personal and family ties in addition to reputation.


Since approximately 1980, the population of this island has doubled, the population of Tuvalu is mainly of the Polynesian ethnic group; about 4% of the population is from Micronesia. About 97% of the population of Tuvalu are members of the Church of Tuvalu, a Protestant church. Religion has been mixed with some elements of indigenous religions. Other religions that are practiced on the island are the Seventh-day Adventists (1.4%) and Bahaí (1%) both related to indigenous cultures. Tuvaluan is the language spoken by almost the entire country, while a dialect of the Gilbertés language is spoken on Nui. English is also an official language, but it is not spoken by people on the street but is spoken in parliament and at official functions that take place in Tuvalu. See population of Tuvalu.


From the 1 of January of 1976 Tuvalu printing your own labels began. In the capital (Funafuti), there is a Post Office that supports its own stamps, representing the Island or important moments in national history, additional dances or costumes. There is a joint Philatelic Society with Kiribati (formerly the Ellice Islands). The Government of Tuvalu is represented in the United Kingdom by an honorary consul, based in the House of Tuvalu, London.

Tuvalu State Overview

About the author