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Tonga, officially named the Kingdom of Tonga.
It is surrounded by Fiji and Wallis and Futuna (France) to the northwest,
Samoa to the northeast, Niue to the east (which is the nearest foreign territory), Kermadec (part of New Zealand) to the southwest, and New Caledonia (France) and Vanuatu to the farther west.
It is about 1,800 kilometers (1,100 mi) from New Zealand's North Island.
Reason for naming the country
In many Polynesian languages, including Tongan, the word tonga comes from fakatonga, which means "southwards", as the archipelago is the southernmost group of the islands of central Polynesia.
The Tongan flag originated in the 1860s and was adopted on November 4, 1875, making it one of the world's oldest flags.
The flag of Tonga consists of a red base with a white square in the upper left corner. There is a red cross centered on the white square.
The red cross represents the country's belief in Christianity.
The white represents purity, and
the red represents the blood Jesus shed at his crucifixion and reminds Tonga's people that they owe their salvation to him.
The Tongan language is the official language, along with English.
Tongan is a Polynesian language of the Austronesian family and is closely related to the Samoan language of the same family.
Most of the English language speakers are located in towns.
Tonga does not have an official state religion.
The Constitution of Tonga provides for freedom of religion.
In modern times, nearly all Tongans identify with some form of Christianity. There is a great diversity of the branches of Christianity followed in the country.
The majority of Tongas following Protestants, the others are following Mormons, Roman Catholic.
Believers of other religions and non-believers account for 1.1% and 0.03% of the population.
Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy.
Tonga’s climate is warm and tropical.
Temperatures are warm all year round and can get hot in the summer, but seldom reach above 35°C (95°F).
Trade winds from the East-Southeast bring year-long cooling breezes in the late afternoon and early evening.
Tropical rains fall from December through February, coinciding with the warmest summer months.
However, there are no significant differences in temperatures between summer and winter. In general, the winter temperatures (April to September) are only slightly cooler than summer temperatures (November to February).
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