The kingdom of Tonga is made up of five island groups lying southeast of Fiji. Some of the 172 islands are steep and volcanic while others are low platforms of coral. Most people live on the fertile Tongatapu islands where coconut palms, banana trees, and watermelons are grown. The islands export fruit and vegetables, copra (dried coconut), and coconut oil, as well as vanilla pods for flavoring desserts and ice cream.
The Tongans descended from Polynesian seafarers who had probably settled in this area by about 1000 B.C. European explorers arrived in the islands in the 1600s and 1700s....More