The Tuvalu Islands, known in colonial times as the Ellice Islands, are a very small parliamentary monarchy associated with the British Commonwealth. Tuvalu is among the smallest state entities in the world, it is in fact in fourth place for the smallest surface after the Vatican City (0.44 sq km), the Principality of Monaco (1.95 sq km) and the island of Nauru (21 sq km). While as regards the state with the least numerous population, it is second only to Vatican City.
The archipelago – made up of the atolls of Nanumea, Nanumanga, Niutao, Nui, Vaitupu, Nukufetau, Funafuti, Nukulaelae and Niulakita – is located in the central-western Pacific Ocean (Micronesia). Geographically it is located a few degrees south of the equator, between Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Wallis and Futuna and Tokelau.
A LITTLE ARCHIPELAGO OF ATOLLS
The capital of this small state is the village of Vaiaku, on the Funafuti atoll. The islands – being atolls – are completely flat and are covered by a dense vegetation of coconut palms typical of the atolls of the Pacific ocean.
The economy is based on agriculture, coconut palm (copra), fruit and vegetables are grown there. Stamp issuing and fishing are important in the small island economy. The waters in front of the islands are rich in fish, crustaceans and molluscs.
Tourism is developing, but it is not currently a major activity. The country, however, would have interesting tourist attractions thanks to the beautiful tropical lagoons of the atolls that form the archipelago and the traditions of the Polynesian population.
The Tuvalu islands can only be reached with flights that land at Funafuti international airport. Funafuti airport is connected by direct flights – operated by Fiji Airways – with Nadi airport in Fiji. While Air Kiribati operates flights with Tarawa in the Kiribati islands. New connections to the Samoa islands are planned soon – with flights operated by Samoa Air.
- Area: 26 sqkm.
- Population: 12,000 (2007 data) (Polinesians 96%, Micronesians 4%).
- State Capital: Vaiaku (Funafuti).
- Languages: Official languages are English and Tuvaluan.
- Religion: Christian 99% (Congregationalist 97%, Seventh-day Adventist 1,4%), Baha’i 1%.
- Currency: Tuvalu Dollar, Australian Dollar (AUD).
- Time: UTC +12 hours.
ACCOMMODATIONS, APARTMENTS, B&B AND HOTELS
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