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Tonga became a protected state under a Treaty of Friendship with Britain on , when European settlers and rival Tongan chiefs tried to oust the second king.
The treaty posted no higher permanent representative on Tonga than a British Consul (1901–1970).
The last resident British High Commissioner was Paul Nessling. Reverence for the monarch replaces that held in earlier centuries for the sacred paramount chief, the Tuʻi Tonga.
Criticism of the monarch is held to be contrary to Tongan culture and etiquette.
of whom 70% reside on the main island of Tongatapu.
Tonga stretches across approximately 800 kilometres (500 mi) in a north-south line.
The majority of the population engages in some form of subsistence production of food, with approximately half producing almost all of their basic food needs through farming, sea harvesting, and animal husbandry.
Women and men have equal access to education and health care and are fairly equal in employment, but women are discriminated against in land holding, electoral politics, and government ministries of wasting millions of dollars on unwise investments.
The country never relinquished its sovereignty to any foreign power.Whaling vessels were among the earliest regular western visitors.The first on record is the Ann & Hope which was reported among the islands of Tonga in June 1799.Not much is known before European contact because of the lack of a writing system, but oral history has survived and been recorded after the arrival of the Europeans.
By the 12th century, Tongans and the Tongan paramount chief, the Tuʻi Tonga, had a reputation across the central Pacific—from Niue, Samoa, Rotuma, Wallis & Futuna, New Caledonia to Tikopia—leading some historians to speak of a Tuʻi Tonga Empire.
While exposed to colonial pressures, Tonga has always governed itself, which makes it unique in the Pacific.