A Maneapa in Tuvalu

Tuvalu – A Place

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  • Politics
    • Name: Tuvalu
    • Capital: Funafuti
    • 2 Letter Code: TV
    • 3 Letter Code: TUV
  • Land
    • Contenent: Oceania
    • Region: Polynesia
    • Total Land: 26 (10)
    • Land: 26 (10)
    • Water: 0 (0)
  • People
    • Population: 11,810
    • Birth Rate: 22.18 per 1,000
    • Death Rate: 7.11 per 1,000
    • Infant Mortality: 20.03 per 1,000
    • Literacy: 99.00%
  • Economy
    • Agriculture: 16.6%%
    • Industry: 27.2%%
    • Service: 56.2%%
Tuvala Flag

Tuvalu is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean. It is located about halfway between Australia and Hawaii.

Formerly known as the Ellice Islands, Tuvalu is composed of nine small islands. They are spread over a distance of about 420 miles (676 kilometers). These islands are small and there are no rivers. Therefore rainfall is the only source of fresh water on the islands.

The capital, Funafuti, is an atoll in the southeastern region of Tuvalu. It is made up of many narrow islands and shallow lagoons.

Modern Tuvalu

Tuvalu is mostly native Polynesian (Tuvaluan), as this group makes up over 95% of the population. The other 5% are either of Micronesian –Kiribati– or mixed heritage.

A Maneapa in Tuvalu
A Maneapa in Tuvalu

Tuvaluan and English are the main languages spoken on the islands. Tuvaluan, the primary language, is a Polynesian language. However, it is not a close relative of more well-known Polynesian languages. Instead, it is more closely related to Polynesian “outlier” languages spoken in Micronesia and northern parts of Melanesia. Parts of Tuvaluan have been borrowed from Samoan. This is mostly a product of Christian missionaries bringing their language and religion to Tuvalu. That happened in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Tuvaluans are almost entirely Christian. Over 90% of the population is part of the Congregational Church of Tuvalu. There are also smaller Christian groups of Seventh-Day Adventists and Roman Catholics. Some Bahai practitioners are also present. These minority groups make up less than 2% of the population each.

Tuvaluan Prehistory

Tuvalu was first settled about 3000 years ago, between 1500 BC and 1000 BC. These first inhabitants were Polynesians. They may have been traveling in canoes from Samoa and Tonga. Their journey was a part of the vast Polynesian migration taking place throughout Oceania.

Other settlers arrived later, probably from Tonga, the Cook Islands, Rotuma, and the Gilbert islands. These inhabitants most likely lived together in small numbers. They had scattered villages throughout the islands of Tuvalu until contact with Europeans was made.

Tuvalu History

The islands were first sighted by European explorers in the 1600s. However, it wasn’t until the whaling industry brought more frequent travelers to the region in the 1800s that Tuvalu experienced consistent contact with outsiders. By the mid-1800s, many Tuvaluans were being taken from the islands as labor recruits for the plantation industries starting throughout Polynesia. Some were even taken as far as Hawaii, Australia, and South America. Their desire for protection led Tuvaluans to enthusiastically embrace Samoan Christian missionaries when they arrived in the late 1800s. By the turn of the 20th century, Protestant Christianity had been established as the main religion of the islands.

In 1892, Tuvalu became a British protectorate known as the Ellice Islands. That is part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony. During World War II, U.S. armed forces were placed there. No combat took place on the islands. Starting in the 1960s, racial tensions and competition for jobs between Gilbertese Islanders and Ellice Islanders led to a secession movement. The result was Tuvaluan independence in 1978. In 2000, Tuvalu became the 189th member of the United Nations.


This section is under development.


Genographic ProjectGeno 2.0 Data

Data from Geno 2.0 is derived from the The National Geographic Society’s Genographic Project — the DAR. The Hg ID is specific to this site and is used to protect the identities of those who take part in Genographic research. Birth Country, Mother’s Birth Country, and Maternal Grandmother’s Birth Country have been normalized from DAR database fields. The Maternal Origin is determined based on the three previous fields.

Note: Geno 2.0 results currently use Phylotree build 16. I am working on changing results over to build 17.

Hg IDHg Build 16Birth CountryMother’s Birth CountryMaternal Grandmother’s Birth Country

Sources & Resources

Barrie K. Macdonald. (2018) Tuvalu. The Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved August 20, 2018, https://www.britannica.com/place/Tuvalu

CIA Staff. (2018) Tuvala. Retrieved August 20, 2018, In The World Fact Book. Retrieved August 19, 2018, from In https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos/tv.html

Wikipedia contributors. (2018, August 19). Tuvalu. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved August 20, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Tuvalu&oldid=855533489

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