Facts about Tonga, the country destroyed by an underwater volcano

In his first official statement after underwater volcano eruption Hong-Tonga-Hong-Habei, government Tonga He described the situation as an “unprecedented disaster”. Among the scope of the disaster, there are three confirmed deaths, the main island was covered in ash and entire cities were destroyed before tsunami. In addition, internet connectivity in the country has not been restored and can remain isolated from the outside world for several weeks.

From eruption It took place on Saturday, January 15, and the media around the world constantly reported on the situation in the South Pacific archipelago. However, being a remote country, it is not uncommon that we usually do not know much about its culture, geography or population.

Then, we tell you 10 facts about Tonga.

Photo: AP/MAXAR

1. It is an archipelago located in the South Pacific Ocean, consisting of about 170 islas It covers an area of ​​700,000 square kilometers (an area larger than the size of countries such as Spain, France or Germany).

Only 36 islands are inhabited. The capital is called Nuku’alofa and is located on the main island of Tongatapu; It’s only 64 kilometers from where eruption.

Many of the islands are only a few meters above sea level, as the BBC indicates.

2. To the west, Fiji is your neighbour, while the Cook Islands are to the east and Samoa is to the north. to travel to TongaIt is most common to travel from Australia or New Zealand.

3. Archipelago Tonga It is distributed in two roughly parallel lines. One of them is volcanic islands with great heights and the other is made up of atolls.

4. In 2020, the population of Tonga Their number was only 105,600 people.

Tonga_where_is_2_ the wellPhoto: iStock

5. It is the only Pacific state that has a constitutional monarchy. Its monarchy is over a thousand years old, and the constitution dates back to 1875.

In 2010, he held his first parliamentary elections, according to the BBC. Until 1970 it was an English protectorate, but the nation was never a colony.

6. Story Tonga Its history dates back to three thousand years, starting with the migration of the Lapita culture from Southeast Asia.

The first contact with European culture occurred in 1616, but was limited to a small altercation between a Tonge boat and two Dutch sailors. No real contact with the Dutch occurred until 1643, when another explorer exchanged goods with the local communities.

7. Diving and snorkeling are among the main tourist activities in TongaAs there are destinations where visibility in the water reaches 30 metres. In addition, it is one of the few destinations where it is possible to swim near humpback whales.

8. For being located just west of the International Date Line, Tonga It is one of the first countries to welcome the new day.

When Mexico hits 12 at night, at Tonga It’s already six in the evening that day.

9. The . dance Tonga, Called lakalaka, it is considered an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. It is a mixture of choreography, oratory, singing and instrumentation, which is practiced on very important occasions such as the coronation of the king or the anniversary of the constitution.

This dance lasts about 30 minutes and includes large groups of up to hundreds of people. Participants form lines: men stand to the right and move quickly and forcefully, women stand to the left and make graceful hand movements. The two groups clap and sing while dancing.

A person who collects choreography and composes music and lyrics is called a trumpet. They explore topics related to Tongan history, values, and social structure.

10. Tonga It is a very religious Christian country. Off the beach, tourists should dress modestly, just like the locals; Shoulders and knees should be covered normally.

tonga_where_is_4.jpgPhoto: AFP/MAXAR

The situation in Tonga after the eruption of the volcano

Hinga-tonga-hongga-hapai volcano verb eruption for eight minutes on Saturday, causing an ash plume that reached a height of 20 kilometers; The phenomenon was so powerful that it could be heard in New Zealand, 2,383 kilometers from TongaAccording to the BBC.

the eruption Waves more than a meter long were generated on the coasts of the country. the tsunami Cut an underwater cable that allows connection to the Internet, isolating it Tonga from the outside world. Regaining contact could take up to two weeks, because the cable-laying ship is in Papua New Guinea, more than 4,000 kilometers from Tonga.

Some of the smaller islands have completely sunk under water, the BBC said. A 2-cm layer of ash covered Tongatapu Island, according to the United Nations.

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