Tuvalu is a Pacific island nation, until 1975 it was known as Ellis Island. The state is located on the four islands of the archipelago with the same name and captures the territories of the five atolls; The length of the coastline is twenty-one kilometers. The total land area is twenty-six kilometers.
In 2008, Tuvalu’s population was slightly more than twelve thousand people. The capital of the state is the city of Funafuti. As the official monetary units on the territory of the state, the Australian dollar and the dollar Tuvalu are used (in circulation since 1976). In monetary terms, these currencies are equivalent to each other.
The official languages of the state are English and Tuvalu. As for the latter, one of its characteristic features is the abundance of borrowings from the Samoan language. The administrative cells of the state are seven island councils (Nukufetau, Nukulaela, Vaitupu, Nui, Nanumanga, Nuitao and Nanumea) and Funafuti – city council. The islands of Tuvalu appeared on the map in the sixteenth century (in 1568), their discoverer was the Spanish navigator.
A tropical climate prevailed over the territory of Tuvalu.
Two distinct seasons are very pronounced: the drought season (beginning in May and ending in October), the rainy season (beginning in November and ending in April). In the rainy season, up to sixty percent of precipitation falls, on average, about three thousand millimeters of precipitation a year (a maximum of four thousand). Comparing the climate of Tuvalu with the climate of the nearby islands (Fiji and Gilbert), it can be noted that it is more humid. The northern Tuvalu Islands are subject to severe droughts. Here, droughts may not cease for three consecutive months. Throughout the year, the air temperature keeps at around twenty-six to thirty-two degrees Celsius with a plus sign. Over the territory of Tuvalu are often tropical cyclones, their destructive power often leads to undesirable consequences for the state. For example, the cyclone “Bebe” dumped most of the trees on the islands, almost all residential buildings were destroyed, several people were killed. The cyclone destroyed the entire infrastructure, which it became possible to restore only thanks to financial assistance from foreign countries.
Climate change brings with it a lot of threats for Tuvalu.
First, we must say about global warming, which directly threatens the future Tuvalu. For the life of the country, the consequences of global warming are dangerous. So, under the water can be low-lying islands of Tuvalu. Climate change also leads to a lack of drinking water for the population, erosion of fringing reefs and coastal erosion. All this increases the risks to the health of local residents, worsening the economic situation. The current situation is exacerbated by the ill-considered use of land resources, the population growth of the main island of Tuvalu – Funafuti Atoll. As a result, the deterioration of living conditions. If there is an immediate threat of flooding the archipelago, the country’s population will be transferred to Fiji, to Australia, New Zealand – appropriate evacuation plans are already being developed.
There are no rivers on the territory of Tuvalu.
It’s true. The reason lies in the porosity of soils, low altitude and a small area of the state. This fact leads to the fact that the islanders store collected rainwater in concrete tanks. Once the indigenous people of these places equipped wells, from which for household needs and took water. Everything would be fine, but the groundwater was contaminated by the ingress of salty ocean water.
Tuvalu’s vegetable world is rich.
On the contrary, it is very monotonous, the reason is that a huge part of the land is taken for growing food plants, in particular, coconut palms.On the coasts of the islands of Tuvalu, you can see sun-loving pandanus, tourneforts, devils; and if you go deeper inside the island, then – ferns, plantations of bananas, bread trees, groves of coconut palms, mangroves. Often there are also calophyllum, guetthard, ochrosia and other broad-leaved species. In total, eighty six varieties of vascular plants are registered on the territory of the country, of which only forty-four are indigenous. Endemic no.
The fauna of Tuvalu is diverse.
And this also does not correspond to reality. The fauna of the country is extremely poor. Mostly, it is represented by introduced species. The “variety” of mammals is limited to cats, dogs, rats and pigs. The population of seabirds Tuvalu is also insignificant. In many ways, the culprits themselves are the islanders themselves, who are engaged in their capture. Petrels, cormorants, frigates are still settling on their lands, not disturbed by man. In coastal waters of the islands, there are approximately thirty species of coral and three hundred and fifty species of fish. Many hermit crabs, land crabs, snakes and small lizards.
According to the form of government of Tuvalu, a constitutional monarchy.
This is a democratic sovereign state. In October 1978, the Constitution began to operate on its territory. In the spring of 2008, a referendum was held on the possible change in the form of government from monarchical to republican. However, for this transition, six hundred and seventy-nine people voted, while for the preservation of the monarchy – one thousand two hundred and sixty people.
Parliament is the legislative body of Tuvalu.
In the local language it is called Fale I Fono, it consists of one chamber. The parliament consists of at least twelve deputies whose term of office is limited to four years. The country has a majority electoral system. All Tuvalu citizens passing the age limit can be elected to parliament. In order for a citizen to register his promotion, he must reach twenty-one years. At the end of elections, the deputies elect the speaker themselves. In some cases, the parliament may be dissolved by the head of state. The competence of the Tuvalia Parliament includes the right to issue laws. The only thing – these laws should in no way conflict with the Constitution of Tuvalu. Each deputy can file a petition, make an offer on the debate, or consider the draft law.
Agriculture is the most important branch of the economy of Tuvalu.
Agriculture, indeed, is one of the most important sectors of the economy of this country. However, the development of this industry is limited by the following unfavorable factors: salinity, porosity of local soils, low fertility. The climate established over the northern islands of Tuvalu, and in general makes their lands unsuitable for cultivation of certain crops. The main crop is coconut palm. It finds the widest application in the Tuvalu economy. Coconuts go to the livelihood of domestic animals and are used in preparing food by the islanders themselves; From the leaves of the palm weave baskets and mats; its wood is a wonderful building material. In addition, from the coconut milk is made Toddy – a specific alcoholic beverage. In addition to coconut palms, papaya, bananas, breadfruit, pandanus are cultivated in Tuvalu. Livestock Tuvalu is limited to breeding ducks, chickens, pigs.
Fishery is very important in the life of Tuvalu.
Fish is the national wealth of this country, whose population simply can not do without it in compiling their daily diet. Tuvalu has a colossal exclusive economic zone. Its area is almost five hundred twenty thousand square kilometers. The issuance of fishing licenses to other states brings Tuvalu much of its state revenues (forty-four percent in 2000).In the field of fishing, China, Japan and the United States are the main partners of the country.
Tuvalu is a country with poorly developed transport links.
There are no railways here, and the length of the highways at the beginning of the twenty-first century was only eight kilometers. In 2007, only one airport operated in the territory of Tuvalu, located in the capital city. By the way, Funafuti is also the only port of Tuvalu, the fleet is seventy-four ships. You can get to this country using the services of air companies “Air Pacific” or “Air Fiji”. Both airlines fly to Tuvalu from Fiji: the first – from the city of Nadi, the second – from the city of Suva. Public transport can be found only on Funafuti Island.
Tourism is the second important branch of the country’s economy.
In contrast, tourism in Tuvalu is very badly developed. Revenues from tourism in 2002 amounted to only thirteen percent of the country’s gross domestic product. If we compare Tuvalu with other states of Oceania, then it becomes obvious that the number of tourists coming to Tuvalu is quite low. There are several reasons for this. First, it should be noted the inadequate state of the hotel sector (and generally low level of service), and secondly, the high cost of flights and difficulties with air traffic. Be that as it may, Tuvalu has all the prerequisites for the successful development of ecological tourism. Most tourists (mainly citizens of New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Japan) come to Funafuti, where there are more or less places to accommodate tourists, there is even a hotel. In 2007, Tuvalu was visited by just over a thousand people.
Tuvalu has a positive foreign trade balance.
On the contrary, Tuvalu’s imports are significantly larger than exports, for example, in 2006 this excess was almost four million AUD $. Tuvalu depends on imports of fuel, machinery, industrial and food products. Tuvalu’s exports include coconuts, handicrafts, vegetables, frozen fish, bananas, copra (produced from coconuts), as well as footwear and clothing. As for exports, Germany is the main partner of Tuvalu (it accounted for more than sixty percent of exported products in 2006). In addition, it is important to cooperate with Fiji and Italy. According to the import, Fiji is the main partner of Tuvalu (this country accounted for more than forty-five percent of imported products in 2006). Other important importers of Tuvalu include New Zealand, Australia, China and Japan (it ranks second in importance after Fiji – almost nineteen percent of imported goods).
Aliki – the leaders of the traditional Tuvalian society.
Each island of Tuvalu historically had great independence, including political. In general, this did not mean the complete isolation of the islands of the archipelago from each other. Close ties existed between the atolls of Vaitupu, Nukulaela, Nukufetau, Funafuti. The basis of these ties was ritual hierarchy and veneration of a common ancestor. Aliki were recognized leaders not only in religious, but also politically – led the lives of local residents due to their authority. Their power was hereditary, and according to the beliefs of the islanders, there was a close connection between aliki and the supernatural forces. Alik was a shadow of the being that controls the universe; absolutely every decision of the leader was mandatory and not subject to discussion. For disobedience a cruel punishment was supposed, in many cases connected with the deprivation of life.
Music and dances are of great importance in the life of the islanders.
The musical style of the state evolved over several centuries. Now it is an amazing combination of old and modern elements. Unfortunately, many dance and music traditions have not survived to this day.Fakaseasea and fakanu – 2 traditional Tuvalu dances – had several appointments. First, it should be noted entertainment function. But these dances play a different role. Traditionally, they were performed in honor of the prominent local residents (who showed their courage, succeeded in catching fish or building a canoe) and, of course, the ruling elite. Unfortunately, by the present moment only the dance of the fakasease has been preserved. As for the dance of Fakana, it should be noted that it was based on the sitting position of the dancer (as a rule, it was a man), who made movements with the upper part of the trunk and with his hands. The most widespread fakanu received on the islands of Nukufetau and Nuitao. This dance is collective, its participants took their positions in a circle, and the most experienced dancer sat in the center and watched the keeping of the tact. The disappearance of the dance was associated with the activities of missionaries who found it too erotic. An important role in the ban was played by the religious significance of the dance. Currently, the most popular dance is a fetele (inextricably linked with the music of the fa? Elet), in the performance of which the dancers sit in several rows, the best ones being in front. The musical accompaniment of dances to Tuvalu was traditionally circumvented by a single tool – slotted gong. Additional sounds of islanders can be extracted by knocking on mats, clapping hands or striking the palms of your hands with fans.
Funafuti is a capital atoll.
It has a drop-shaped shape and by local standards is quite large – the area of the atoll is little more than two and a half square kilometers. A wide lagoon is surrounded by a series of small islands. More than fifty percent of the population of the atoll is concentrated in the territory of the island of Fongafale – in the town of Vaaku. It is the commercial and administrative center of Tuvalu. Vayaku is a very picturesque settlement. However, the industry here does not smell – there are no corresponding enterprises. Only 2 very small factories work – they produce soap and textiles. The construction of the city also leaves much to be desired. Analogy with European buildings can be found only near the buildings of the police department, hotel Vaiaku-Lagi, airport, bank, several government houses. In the rest, residential quarters are adjacent to burial places and pens for pigs. The main attraction of Funafuti can be called a huge lagoon of the atoll. The lagoon can offer all travelers the opportunity to get acquainted with the wonderful underwater world, to swim in clear sea water, to admire the excellent view of sunset and dawn, or to travel to the most remote islets of Funafuti.
The Marine National Park is a unique nature reserve.
We are talking about the Funafuti Marina park in the western part of Funafuti. Indeed, it is one of the most unusual reserves in the world. Funafuti Marina has an area of thirty-two square kilometers – such a large ocean area on our planet is not protected anywhere else. The national park includes 6 islands (Tefala, Fuakea, Vasafua, Fuafatu, Fualopa, Tepuka-Savililivi). They are all uninhabited. Under the protection of the reserve is a vulnerable ecocenosis of coral reefs, there are many turtles, a huge number of seabirds and tropical fish. Flights to the Tuvalu National Park are far from regular, so those wishing to visit it should hire a boat or boat to Funafuti.
Nanumea Atoll is the largest in the archipelago.
It has an area of more than three and a half square kilometers. It is located Nanumea in four hundred and seventy-five kilometers to the north-west of the capital island. Atoll is a reef. Outwardly this reef is very much like a boomerang. The whole atoll is entangled in legends. For example, one of the Polynesian legends tells us that once there lived two women. They were called Wow and Pai. They fished with large baskets. The sand that fell into it poured back into the sea.It was he who formed the islets of the Nanumea atoll. The same legend says that amazing women were driven to Nyutao by a certain warrior Tefolakh, who was the ancestor of the islanders who deserved the glory of sorcerers in Oceania.
Nukufetau Atoll is an ideal place for diving.
This is an atoll slightly to the north of Funafuti, and its area is about three square kilometers. Such an excellent place for lovers of diving, the atoll makes its deep-water central lagoon, which among the islands of Tuvalu archipelago is infrequent. The lagoon is very well located – with the ocean it is connected by a long and not wide passage, due to which the various small inhabitants of the sea waters constantly curl here. By the way, the atoll has almost the right square shape, at the corners of this geometric figure, palm groves are comfortably placed – and this is a wonderful view for connoisseurs of landscape photography and a wonderful place for devotees of secluded rest.