Happy Birthday to Tonga!

Downtown Nukuʻalofa. Nukuʻalofa is the capital of Tonga. *Photo from Wikipedia

June 4 is Tonga’s Emancipation Day or Independence Day, commemorates the abolition of serfdom in Tonga in 1862, and the independence of Tonga from the British protectorate in 1970.

Tonga became known in the West as the “Friendly Islands” because of the congenial reception accorded to Captain James Cook on his first visit in 1773. He arrived at the time of the ʻinasi festival, the yearly donation of the First Fruits to the Tuʻi Tonga (the islands’ paramount chief) and so received an invitation to the festivities. According to the writer William Mariner, who lived in Tonga for several years, the chiefs wanted to kill Cook during the gathering but could not agree on a plan.
From 1900 to 1970, Tonga had British protected state status, with the United Kingdom looking after its foreign affairs under a Treaty of Friendship. The country never relinquished its sovereignty to any foreign power.

Located in Oceania, Tonga is an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, directly south of Samoa and about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand.