Tonga. In August, the OECD removed Tonga from its black
list of countries that allow money laundering.
Countryaah, an American businessman with ties to the court
disappeared in October with the $ 26 million he would have
invested on behalf of the Kingdom. Two ministers were forced
to resign. The money had been raised by selling Tongan
passports to Hong Kong Chinese in particular during the
The 82-year-old King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV 's health
appeared to be failing and he traveled to New Zealand in the
fall to be treated for heart problems. A power struggle over
control of the country was already said to take place
between Crown Prince Tupouto and Princess Pilolevu Tuita.
Tonga - meaning South in several Polynesian
languages - was populated over 1,000 years ago by
immigrants from Samoa. The Tongas developed a socially
advanced structure in the midst of which the monarch
existed. According to oral reports, the first monarch of the
islands was Ahoeitu in the second half of the 10th century.
In the 15th century, the religious and civil functions of
the monarch were separated, which explains why the islands
had two monarchs when the first Dutch seamen arrived in the
islands in 1616. In 1773, British explorer James Cook named
the islands "Friendly Islands".
After a civil war, the archipelago recovered its
political unity in the mid-19th century, which it had lost
in the late 18th century. King Taufa'ahau Tupou managed to
gather the kingdom aided by European missionaries and
conquered Vavau and Tongatapu. Taufa'ahau (John I after he
was baptized) introduced a parliamentary system and
implemented a land reform that gave each adult male 3.3
hectares of arable land. This land distribution still
exists, but since there is no additional land to distribute,
families divide the land.
In 1889, Britain and Germany signed a treaty under which
the British could freely dispose of Tonga. In 1890, the
archipelago was transformed into British "protectorate" and
the monarchy was retained with limited powers.
Queen Salote - granddaughter of Taufa'ahau and recognized
for his height, which is the criterion for the nobility in
Tonga - was crowned in 1918 and in 1960 gave women the right
to vote in parliamentary elections.
The British replaced subsistence agriculture and fishing
- the traditional occupation of the Tongans - with the
cultivation of copra and bananas.
In 1967, the current king, Taufa'ahau Tupou IV was
crowned and in 1970 the country gained its independence.
Rising prices for its export products made it possible to
introduce a social insurance system and to provide the
entire population with free education and health care.
As banana prices dropped in the mid-70s, it led to the
exodus of 10,000 Tongans to New Zealand. The country has
since undergone a difficult period: inflation is high,
unemployment is high despite the emigration, trade deficit
is high and there are a number of natural disasters such as
the cyclone Isaac, which in 1982 destroyed part of the
In February 1990, supporters of reform in the country
were re-elected, announcing the formation of the kingdom's
first political party. The king accused the leader of the
movement, Akalisi Pohiva, of sympathizing with Marxism.
The UN criticized the responses the Tongan government had
given to the question of the reasons why there are no trade
unions in the country, despite the fact that there are 3,000
public servants. The government had declared that the unions
did not exist because they were not "necessary".