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Tuvalu Information - Page 2
Early migrants to the islands of Tuvalu were from other Polynesian islands such as Tonga. Two centuries later the islands were discovered by the first European, Alvaro Mendana de Neyra, a Spanish navigator.

During the mid nineteenth century islanders from Tuvalu were taken as forced labour to work on plantations in Fiji and Australia.

Tuvalu came under the jurisdiction of Britain in 1877 when the UK established the Western Pacific High Commission in Fiji. In 1892 the islands of Tuvalu (called the Ellice Islands) and the Gilbert Islands (Kiribati) came under a joint British Protectorate. The British Colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands was formed in 1916.

After years of tension, the Ellice Islands voted for separation from the Gilbert Islands becoming the British Colony of Tuvalu (1975). Tuvalu gained independence in 1978 with the monarch of the United Kingdom as the Head of State. (The Gilbert Islands also gained independence and the name of the country changed to Kiribati). Tuvalu and Kiribati both retained links with the UK as members of the Commonwealth.

A trust fund was set up for the country of Tuvalu in 1987 by the governments of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The trust is also supported by Japan and South Korea.

Subsistence farming and fishing are the main economic activities.

Revenue is received from the sale of tuna fishing licences to the USA, the lease of air space to international telephone companies and the lease of Tuvalu's Internet domain name. Tuvalu's postage stamps and coins are popular with collectors around the world. Remittances from Tuvaluans employed overseas are also an important source of revenue. (2011)

Music is important in Polynesian culture and traditional singing and dancing often form part of celebrations in Tuvalu.

Local crafts include woven baskets and mats, wood carvings and jewellery.

Football is a popular sport. Other team games include a local version of cricket and te ano, a traditional ball game, similar to volleyball.

Lagoons are suitable for swimming. Water sports in the coastal waters include diving and game fishing.

All Christian holidays are celebrated. Other holidays include New Year's Day - 1 January, Commonwealth Day - 14 March, the Queen's Official Birthday - 12 June, National Children's Day - 5 August and Independence Day - 1 October (1978).

News from Tuvalu is available from Newslink.

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