Also known as: Tongan; Friendly Islands

Tonga is a group of islands in western Polynesia. In prehistoric times, the kings of Tonga had a sphere of influence, sometimes known as the 'Tongan Empire', which encompassed many neighbouring groups of islands. Although Tonga had a close relationship with Britain during the twentieth century, it is notable as the only Polynesian nation never to have lost its sovereignty.

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Traditional Culture(1810)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Absent (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 69-95
Nature god(s) Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 69-76
Ancestral spirits Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 25-50, 69-95
Deified ancestor(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 69-76
God(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 69-76

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 72-73

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife Absent (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 73
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife Absent (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 73
Myth of humanity’s creation Present, and evolutionary (Source)
Collocott (1921)
Primordial pair Absent (Source)
Collocott (1921)
Culture hero(es) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Collocott (1921)

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 70, 71

Classes of Tapu

Social hierarchy tapu Present (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 102
Resource management tapu Present (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 219
Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 102

Mana

Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Present (Source)
Blust (2007)
Mana linked to genealogy Present, linked to paternal lines only (Source)
Gifford (1929), pp. 326
Mana and social status Moderately associated (Source)
Gifford (1929), pp. 326
Mana as a personal quality Present (Source)
Gifford (1929), pp. 326
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Present (Source)
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Absent (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 69-95, 255-280
Costly sacrifices and offerings Present (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 76
Gifford (1929), pp. 320
Largest religious community Whole society or larger (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 82
Political and religious differentiation Some overlap (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 25-50, 69-95

Rites

Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 5-11, 123-171
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 5-11, 123-171
Piercing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 10, 123-171
Tattooing Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 128
Genital cutting Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 127-128
Social Environment +
Population 30000 (Source)
Burley (2007), pp. 994
Population of largest political community 10,000-99,999 (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 25-36
Burley (2007), pp. 994
Importance of Patrilateral descent High (Source)
Urbanowicz (1991), pp. 337
Importance of Matrilateral descent Medium (Source)
Urbanowicz (1991), pp. 337
Polygamy Limited polygyny (Source)
Urbanowicz (1991), pp. 338
Marital residence Patrilocal or virilocal - with husband's kin (Source)
Urbanowicz (1991), pp. 338

Conflict

(No) external warfare Occasional, at least every generation (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 255-280
Conflict within community Low (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 1-50
(No) internal warfare Occasional, at least every generation (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 255-280
Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 234-236
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 286.2 (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 'Kingdom of Tonga' (Map)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Distance to nearest continent 3229.0 (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 'Kingdom of Tonga' (Map)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Pre-Austronesian population Absent: No evidence of human occupation prior to Austronesian settlement (Source)
Bellwood (1995), pp. 109
Hindu / Buddhist influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.21
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.23
Christian influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Campbell (2001), pp. 56-65
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Minor (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 215-218
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Minor (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 103-109, 178-184, 205-227
Land-based gathering Absent (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 205-227
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Minor (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 103-109, 178-184, 205-227
Agriculture / Horticulture Major (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 215

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Major (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 223-227
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Medium (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 223-227
Water-based gathering Minor (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 223-227

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Medium (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 229-233
Metalworking Absent (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 109-118
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture Four or more (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. "Kingdom of Tonga" (Map)

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Tectonic (Source)
Campbell (2001), pp. 17
Island Size (km²) 260.0 (Source)
Campbell (2001), pp. 17
Maximum elevation (meters) 70.0 (Source)
Campbell (2001), pp. 17

Location

Latitude -21.2 (Source)
Burley (2007), pp. 180
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude -175.2 (Source)
Burley (2007), pp. 180
Google Maps (2014)
Post Contact History(1810-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Role of social status in conversion process Primarily a top-down process. (Source)
Besnier (2011), pp. 206
Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Besnier (2011), pp. 205-207
Campbell (2001), pp. 72-84
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Central Intelligence Agency (Tonga) (2014)
Besnier (2011), pp. 205-207
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Besnier (2011), pp. 206

Syncretic Movements

Syncretic religious movements Absent (Source)
Campbell (2001), pp. 72-84
Besnier (2011), pp. 206-230
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
Besnier (2011), pp. 29-32
Immigration Absent (Source)
Besnier (2011), pp. 47-54
Central Intelligence Agency (Tonga) (2014)
Language shift Medium (Source)
Central Intelligence Agency (Tonga) (2014)
Besnier (2011), pp. 11
Foreign education systems High (Source)
Campbell (2001), pp. 102, 116
Besnier (2011), pp. 39

Economic Changes

Changes in means of subsistence Medium (Source)
Besnier (2011), pp. 33, 55-63
Exportation of goods to other cultures Present and substantial (Source)
Besnier (2011), pp. 55-63

Modern Infrastructure

Vehicles and roads Present and widely used (Source)
Besnier (2011), pp. 65, 68
Air travel Present and long-distance (Source)
Besnier (2011), pp. 45-46
Sea port Present (Source)
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (2009), pp. 174

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Partly voluntary (Source)
Campbell (2001), pp. 133-134
Besnier (2011), pp. 31
Loss of political autonoomy Medium (Source)
Besnier (2011), pp. 31
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Central Intelligence Agency (Tonga) (2014)
External Links
References
Bellwood, P. (1995). Austronesian Prehistory in Southeast Asia: Homeland, Expansion and Transformation. P. Bellwood, J.J. Fox, & D. Tryon (Eds.), The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (pp 113-114). Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

Besnier, N. (2011). On the Edge of the Global: Modern Anxieties in a Pacific Nation Island. Stanford, CA: Standford University Press.

Blust, R. (2007). Proto-Oceanic *Mana Revisited. Oceanic Linguistics, 46(2), 404-423. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20172322

Burley, D.V. (2007). Archaeological Demography and Population Growth in the Kingdom of Tonga. In P.V. Kirch & J. Rallu (Eds.), The Growth and Collapse of Pacific Island Societies (pp 177-202). Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press.

Campbell, I.C. (2001). Island Kingdom: Tonga Ancient and Modern. Christchurch, New Zealand: Canterbury University Press.

Central Intelligence Agency (Tonga). (2014). The World Factbook: Tonga. Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/tn.html

Collocott, E. E. V. (1921). Notes on Tongan Religion: Part I. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 30(3)(119), 152-163.

Cribb, R. (2000). Historical atlas of Indonesia. Surrey, UK: Curzon Press.

Daft Logic Distance Calculator. (2014). http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm.

Ferdon, E.N. (1987). Early Tonga. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press.

Ferreira, C. (1987). Palauan cosmology: Dominance in a traditional Micronesian society. Gothenberg, Sweden: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis

Fiagoy, G. (1987). Death Stalks the Isneg: A Report on Three Fact-Finding Missions to Lower Kalinga-Apayao, Northern Philippines. Baguio City, Philippines: Cordillera Consultation and Research.

Gifford, E.W. (1929). Tongan Society, Bulletin 61. Honolulu, HI: Bernice P. Bishop Museum.

Google Maps (2014). Retrieved from maps.google.com

Kirch, P.V. (1984). The Evolution of the Polynesian Chiefdoms. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (2009). World Port Index Nineteenth Edition. Bethesda, MD: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Tupouniua, P. (1977). A Polynesian Village: The Process of Change in the Village of Hoi Tonga. Suva, Fiji: South Pacific Social Sciences Association.

Urbanowicz, C.F. (1991). Tonga. In T.E. Hays (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of World Cultures (Volume II, pp 336-339). New York, NY: G.K. Hall & Co.