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keskiviikko 19. lokakuuta 2016

Tuvalu, Cool Facts #155

<= 154. Tonga                                                                                                      156. New Zealand => 



1. Geography of Tuvalu 

Flag of Tuvalu There are nine stars in the flag of Tuvalu, representing the nine islands of the nation. 

Name of Tuvalu 
Tuvalu means "eight together" referring to the eight inhabited islands of Tuvalu. The southernmost island Niulakita has been uninhabited, except during the coconut harvest. 

Size 
Tuvalu has only about 10,000 people and the land area of the nation is among the smallest in the world. The atolls and reef islands form a 600km long chain in the middle of Pacific Ocean. 

Threats 
The highest point of Tuvalu is only 5 meters above sea level. If the sea level rises like it's estimated, Tuvalu will become uninhabitable. The government has already asked help from Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand is ready to receive 75 Tuvaluan climate refugees yearly. Tuvalu has also negotiated buying land in Fiji, which is a thousand kilometers from Tuvalu. 



Tuvalu islands
Scenery


2. Explorers and Scientific Expeditions in Tuvalu 


Álvaro de Mendaña
The Spanish explorer, who sighted Tuvalu as the first European in 1568. In his first voyage he sailed past Nui island and named it Isla de Jesús (Island of Jesus). In his second voyage he passed Niulakita in 1595 and named it La Solitaria.

Captain John Byron
The captain of Dolphin circumnavigated around the world and passed Tuvalu calling the atolls of Tuvalu as Lagoon Islands

Arent Schuyler de Peyster
Captain of Rebecca sailed in Tuvaluan waters in 1819 sighting Nukufetau and Funafuti, which he named Ellice's island after an English politician, Edward Ellice. Edward Ellice was the owner of Rebecca's cargo and the member of parliament for Coventry. After the work of English hydrographer Alexander George Findlay the name Ellice applied to all nine islands of Tuvalu. 

Captain George Barrett
Captain of the Nantucked whaler Independence II. He has been identified as the first whaler to hunt the waters around Tuvalu. In 1821 he bartered coconuts from the people of Nukulaelae and visited Niulakita as well.

Royal Society of London
Conducted an investigation at the site now called Darwin's Drill on Funafuti. The purpose of the investigation was to find out how coral reefs are formed and whether traces of shallow water organisms can be found at depth in the coral of Pacific atolls. 

Photographers and illustrators: 

Alfred Thomas Agate - engraver and illustrator from USA recorded the dress and tattoo patterns of the men of Nukufetau 

Thomas Andrew - photographer from New Zealand visited Funafuti and Nui in 1885 or 1886 and photographed the local people 

Harry Clifford Fassett - photographed people, communities and scenes at Funafuti in 1900, when the United States Fish Commission was investigating the formation of coral reefs on Pacific atolls. 



A Tuvaluan man in traditional costume drawn by Alfred Agate in 1841 
Woman on Funafuti, taken by Harry Clifford Fassett in 1900


3. British Colonial Period


British Western Pacific Territories 1892-1916
In 1892 each of the Ellice Islands was declared a British Protectorate as part of the British Western Pacific Territories (BWPT). 

Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony 1916-1974
The administration of BWPT was ended in 1816, when the colony of Gilbert and Ellice Islands was established. After the World War II, the United Nations was formed, which was committed to a process of decolonization around the world. So the British colonies in the Pacific started their path towards self-determination. 

Referendum of 1974
There was a referendum in Ellice Islands in 1974, whether they should separate themselves from Gilbert Islands or stay with them. The majority of 92% voted for separating from Gilbert Islands. Ellice Islands thus became a separate colony and four years later in 1978 the British colony became independent as Tuvalu.



Gilbert and Ellice Islands stamp
Gilbert and Ellice Islands

4. Blackbirding in Tuvalu 

What is blackbirding ?
Blackbirding means tricking or kidnapping people to work as labourers. Blackbirding in the Pacific started in the 1860s, when Peruvian ships were looking for recruits to mine the guano deposits on the Chincha Islands in Peru. 

In 1870s the blackbirding trade focused on finding workers to the sugar cane plantations in Queensland and Fiji. Blackbirding still continues in some developed countries like in Central America, where people are forced to work as plantation workers for very little pay.

Blackbirding in Tuvalu
A European missionary reported that in 1863 about 170 people were taken from Funafuti and about 250 were taken from Nukulaelae. Many other Polynesian islands were also affected by blickbirding. 




Main blackbirding routes


5. Economy of Tuvalu 

Stamps
Tuvalu generates income from stamps by the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau.

Tuvalu's internet domain ".tv"
Tuvalu has commercialized its internet domain ".tv". The domain is managed by Verisign until 2021. The domain generates about 10% of the government's total revenue. Tuvalu gets each year around 2,2 million US dollars from royalties from the use of the domain.

Fishing licenses
Fishing licenses are one of Tuvalu's most important sources of revenue together with lease of its internet domain and income from the Tuvalu Trust Fund.

Financial support
Tuvalu Trust Fund was worth of $145 million in 2015. It was established by Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand to provide income to Tuvalu to cover shortfalls in the national budget. Japan, South Korea, USA and the European Union also provide financial support to Tuvalu.

Tourism
Due to the remoteness of Tuvalu, tourism isn't significant. In 2010 there were only 360 tourists visiting Tuvalu.

Other facts
- Tuvalu doesn't have television channels, newspapers, jail or army
- Tuvalu had to postpone its membership in the UN because it couldn't afford to pay for the costs of the representation in UN


 Tuvaluan .TV domain

Tuvaluan stamp

Timeline

1568 Tuvalu was sighted for the first time by the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña, who sailed past Nui and named it Isla de Jesús (Island of Jesus)
1595 During Mendaña's second voyage across the Pacific he passed Niulakita and named it La Solitaria
1764 Captain John Byron passed through the islands of Tuvalu calling them Lagoon Islands
1819 American Captain Arent De Peyster sailed under British colors and sighted Nukufetau and Funafuti, which he named Ellice's Island after an English politician Edward Ellice. Later the name Ellice was applied to all nine islands of Tuvalu after the work of English hydrographer Alexander George Findley
1821 Captain George Barrett, who has been the first whaler to hunt around Tuvalu, visited the islands
1861 Christianity came to Tuvalu with Elekana, who was caught in a storm and drifter for 8 weeks before landing at Tuvaluan islands
1862-1863 Peruvian ships were engaged in "blackbirding", seeking forcibly recruits to fill the extreme labour shortage in Peru
1892 Ellice Islands was declared a British Protectorate as part of the British Western Pacific Territories
1916 The Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony was established
1940s During the World War II, the Japanese occupied Gilbert Islands and the Americans Ellice Islands
1974 After a referendum it was decided that Gilbert Islands and Ellice Islands would have their own separate administration
1978 Ellice Islands gained independence as Tuvalu
1979 Gilbert Islands gained independence as Kiribati
2000 Tuvalu became the 189th United Nations member 

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