Population: 10,544 (est.)
Language(s): Tuvaluan, English
- The Tuvaluan dollar and the Australian dollar are the currencies of Tuvalu.
- The Church of Tuvalu, which has historic ties to the Congregational Church and other churches in Samoa, has the largest number of followers.
- Its population of 10,544 makes it the third-least populous sovereign state in the world, with only Vatican City and Nauru having fewer inhabitants.
- The climate of Tuvalu can be described as a typical warm, tropical climate with two different seasons.
- The dry seasons are between December and begin February and from June to mid September; the rainy seasons last from February to end May, and from September to end November.
- The Tuvalu government revenues largely come from the lease of its highly fortuitous .tv Top Level Domain (TLD); sales of stamps and coins; fishing licenses; direct grants from international donors; and income from the Tuvalu Trust Fund.
- The Head of State of Tuvalu is the monarch of the United Kingdom.
Tuvalu, formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. It comprises three reef islands and six true atolls spread out from 6° to 10° south. Its nearest neighbours are Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa and Fiji. Its population of 10,544 makes it the third-least populous sovereign state in the world, with only Vatican City and Nauru having fewer inhabitants. In terms of physical land size, at just 26 square kilometres (10 sq mi) Tuvalu is the fourth smallest country in the world, larger only than the Vatican City at 0.44 km2 (0.17 sq mi), Monaco at 1.98 km2 (0.76 sq mi) and Nauru at 21 km2 (8.1 sq mi).
The first inhabitants of Tuvalu were Polynesian people. In 1568 Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña sailed through the islands and is understood to have sighted Nui during his expedition in search of Terra Australis. In 1819 the island of Funafuti was named Ellice’s Island; the name Ellice was applied to all nine islands after the work of English hydrographer Alexander George Findlay (1812–1876). The islands came under Britain‘s sphere of influence in the late 19th century, when the Ellice Islands were declared a British protectorate by Captain Gibson R.N., of HMS Curacao, between 9 and 16 October 1892. The Ellice Islands were administered as British protectorate by a Resident Commissioner from 1892 to 1916 as part of the British Western Pacific Territories (BWPT), and later as part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony from 1916 to 1974.
In 1974, the Ellice Islanders voted for separate British dependency status. As a consequence Tuvalu separated from the Gilbert Islands which became Kiribati. Tuvalu became fully independent within the Commonwealth on 1 October 1978. On 5 September 2000, Tuvalu became the 189th member of the United Nations.