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Tonga officially the Kingdom of Tonga is an archipelago in the south Pacific Ocean comprising 171 islands, 48 of them inhabited, stretching over a distance of about 800 kilometres (500 miles) in a north-south line. Tonga is the only sovereign monarchy among the island nations of the Pacific Ocean, as well as being the only island nation never to have been formally colonized. First discovered by Captain Cook in 1773, the islands became a British colony from 1901 to its independence in 1970.
Since then little has changed for Tonga, and even the world changing Doomsday had little more than a glancing impact on the islands. Tonga has never lost its indigenous governance or culture, a fact that makes Tonga unique in the Pacific and gives Tongans much pride, as well as confidence in their monarchical system.
In recent years the economy has continued to rapidly grow thanks to increased tourism. The islands are also used as a refueling stop for ocean going vessels traveling between ANZC and South America, and as a large tax haven. The level of income for Tonga residents is now approaching that of any developed nation, and is expected to become a fully developed country in the next 10 years.
In 2008 the island nation was chosen to host the League of Nations headquarters, and most it its institutions in the capital Nukuʻalofa. Despite being isolated and far off from most of the countries in the rest of the world, Tonga was chosen among other nations because of Tongas perceived neutrality.
On March 21, 2009 an undersea volcano erupted off of Tonga waters, creating a new island. The island has been named Amanaki - Tongan for "hope" - in honor of the new League of Nations headquartered at Tonga. 63 km away at the capital, King Siaosi Tupou V made the announcement, saying, "May the emergence of this new land be matched by the united efforts of the whole human race as we continue to lift ourselves out of the depths of our own violent past. And may Amanaki indeed be a symbol of hope for the whole world."
King Siaosi Tupou V passed away on March 18th, 2012 in the Australian city of Brisbane, where he had been receiving medical treatment, following several months of battling leukemia. His younger brother, given his lacks of a legitimate heir, took the throne as Tupou VI.