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(1770-1795)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 69-95
Gifford (1929), pp. 287-350, 288
Collocott (1921)
Nature god(s) Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Gifford (1929), pp. 287-350, 288, 298, 300
Collocott (1921), pp. 234, 238
Ferdon (1987), pp. 69-95
Ancestral spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Campbell (2001), pp. 52
Deified ancestor(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Campbell (2001), pp. 52
Ferdon (1987), pp. 74-75
Cummins (1977), pp. 70
God(s) Present, and the principal focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 69-70, 72

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 72-73
Cummins (1977), pp. 74
Gifford (1929), pp. 290, 291

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife Actions while living do not affect the nature of one’s afterlife (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 73
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife Actions of others after one has died do not affect nature of one’s afterlife (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 73-74
Myth of humanity’s creation Present, and creationist (Source)
Collocott (1924), pp. 276-277
Primordial pair Present, and genealogically distinct from humans (Source)
Collocott (1924), pp. 275-277
Marck (1996A), pp. 223, 224
Culture hero(es) Present, but not a major focus of worship (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 69-95, 70
Gifford (1929), pp. 287-350, 290-291
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

Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Gifford (1929), pp. 21-22
Resource management tapu Present (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 219
Social hierarchy tapu Present (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 101-103

Mana

Mana as a personal quality Present (Source)
Gifford (1929), pp. 326
Mana linked to genealogy Present, linked to paternal lines only (Source)
Gifford (1929), pp. 326
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Absent (Source)
Mana and social status Mana is associated with social status, but high social status is not necessary in order to be mana or have mana. (Source)
Gifford (1929), pp. 326
Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Present (Source)
Blust (2007), pp. 412
Gifford (1929), pp. 326
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Absent (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 25-50, 69-95, 255-280
Costly sacrifices and offerings Present (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 76, 77-78
Size of largest ritual social group Larger than a local community, no larger than the largest political community in the culture (Source)
Ferdon (1981), pp. 82-83
Cummins (1977), pp. 76-77
Political and religious differentiation Some overlap (Source)
Cummins (1977), pp. 64-65

Rites

Piercing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 10, 123-171
Genital cutting Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 127-128
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 5-11, 123-171
Tattooing Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 128
Dale (1996), pp. 378, 387
Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 5-11, 123-171
Social Environment +
Population 35000 (Source)
Burley (2007), pp. 994
Population of largest political community 10,000-99,999 (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 12, 26-36
Cummins (1977), pp. 64-65, 66
Clark et al (2008), 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

Conflict within communities Low (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 11-24
Conflict between communities of the culture Rare or never (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 255-262
Conflict with other cultures Common, at least every five years (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 235-236, 256-257
Cultural 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 African or Asian mainland (km) 7878.0 (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 Medium (Source)
Cummins (1977), pp. 78
Ferdon (1981), pp. 215-216
Agriculture / Horticulture Major (Source)
Urbanowicz (1991), pp. 337
Cummins (1977), pp. 78
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Minor (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 178-184, 205-227
Land-based gathering Absent (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 205-227
Cummins (1977), pp. 78-79
Urbanowicz & Beierle (2007), pp. 3
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Minor (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 178-184, 205-227

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Major (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 224-226
Urbanowicz & Beierle (2007), pp. 3
Water-based gathering Medium (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 223-224
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Medium (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 223-227
Urbanowicz & Beierle (2007), pp. 3

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Major (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 230-231
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture Four or more (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of Tonga) (2014)
Ferdon (1981), pp. "Kingdom of Tonga" (Map)

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Latitude -21.1 (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of Tonga) (2014)
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude -175.2 (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of Tonga) (2014)
Google Maps (2014)
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
Post Contact History(1795-2014)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
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Besnier (2011), pp. 206
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Central Intelligence Agency (Tonga) (2014)
Besnier (2011), pp. 205-207

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

Clark, G., Burley, D., & Murray, T. (2008). Monumentality and the Development of the Tongan Maritime Chiefdom. Antiquity, 82, 994-1008. Retrieved from http://www.antiquity.ac.uk/Ant/082/ant0820994.htm

Collocott, E.E.V. (1921). Notes on Tongan Religion. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 30, pp 152-163, 227-240. Retrieved from http://ehrafworldcultures.yale.edu.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/ehrafe/citation.do?method=citation&forward=browseCulturesFullContext&col=collection%28%27/eHRAF/ethnography/Oceania/OU09%27%29&docId=ou09-016&tocOffsetId=tocPubInfoP

Collocott, E.E.V. (1924). Tongan Myths and Legends, III. Folklore, 35(3), 275-283

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

Cummins, H.G. (1977). Tongan Society at the Time of European Contact. In Rutherford, N. (Ed.), Friendly Islands: A History of Tonga. Melbourne: John Sands Ltd.

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

Dale, P.W (1996). The Tonga Book. Knightsbridge, London: Minerva Press.

Ethnologue (Map of Tonga). (2014). Map of Tonga. Ethnologue. Retrieved from http://www.ethnologue.com/map/TO

Ferdon, E.N. (1981). Early Tahiti as the Explorers saw it, 1767-1797. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.

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

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

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

Lepofsky, D. (1999). Gardens of Eden? An ethnohistoric reconstruction of Maohi (Tahitian) cultivation. Ethnohistory, 1-29.

Marck, J. (1996A). The First-Order Anthropomorphic Gods of Polynesia. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 105 (2), 217-258. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20706661

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

Tonga. (2015). In Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Retrieved from http://academic.eb.com /EBchecked/topic/599148/Tonga

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

Urbanowics, C.F., & Beiele, J. (2007). Culture summary: Tongans. New Haven, Connecticut: Computer file.

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.