Tonga - Country history and economic development

1140 B.C. Evidence of human habitation and Lapita pottery.

950 A.D. Tuíi Tonga is the dominant leader.

1643. First European (Dutch) sighting of Tonga by Schouten and Le Maire.

1643-1800s. Many European contacts include visits by "explorers" from the Netherlands, Great Britain, France, and Spain, who introduce many new trade goods and diseases.

1777. British Captain James Cook explores what he calls the "Friendly Isles."

1822. First Christian conversions, by Wesleyan missionaries; Tonga becomes nominally Christian over the next 20 years.

1845. After civil wars, King Taufa'ahau Tupou I (George Tupou I) of the Ha'apai group becomes first ruler of a united Tonga.

1875. New constitution proclaims Tonga an independent constitutional monarchy.

1900. Great Britain declares Tonga a "protected state" but does not impose full colonial rule.

1918. Queen Salote Tupou III is crowned, and rules until 1965.

1960s. Large-scale migrations to New Zealand and elsewhere begin.

1965. King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, the current monarch, is crowned.

1990s. Rise of republican movement proposing full democracy and end of monarchy; squash becomes primary export, to Japanese market.

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