An archipelago of more than a hundred islands, Tonga is some kind of oddity inside Oceania. Not only is it a monarchy, but its also the only country in the continent that wasn't colonized.
Actually, it is speculated that before the Europeans arrived, there was a Tongan empire that included many more islands. Then the Europeans came right in the middle of a civil war. James Cook also spent some time here, and it seems the Tongans wanted to kill him.
Tonga was part of the British Commonwealth, but it always recognized the king of Tonga as the actual monarch. This, combined with the fact it wasn't colonized, are considered its Crowning Moment Of Awesome, and Tongans are very proud of it. Despite this, the monarchy of Tonga has developed into a more controversial institution in the twenty-first century. Riots in 2006 highlighted a frustration at the lack of democratic reform and even today a third of the legislative assembly is appointed by the king and the small noble class. Political activist ʻAkilisi Pōhiva was the main figurehead of the pro-democracy movement. His decades-long struggle with the Tongan monarchy led to several imprisonments and culminated in his eventual ascension to the office of prime minister (the first to hold the position through an electoral mandate instead of being appointed by the king or being the favored candidate of the nobles in the legislative assembly), an office he held until his death in 2019. Although the monarchy and the nobles are still reluctant to let go of their power, they are no longer in undisputed control.
The national sport here is rugby. Considering the previous facts, it shouldnt be a surprise. The official languages are English and Tongan, a Polynesian language.
Tonga's stamps are also known to drive stamp collectors crazy.
Do not confuse with Tonka.
The Tongan flag