Tonga named the Kingdom of Tonga, is a Polynesian sovereign state and archipelago comprising 169 islands, of which 36 are inhabited. The total surface area is about 750 square kilometres scattered over 700,000 square kilometres of the southern Pacific Ocean; the state has a population of 100,651 people. Tonga stretches across 800 kilometres in a north–south line, it is surrounded by Fiji and Wallis and Futuna to the northwest, Samoa to the northeast, Niue to the east, Kermadec to the southwest, New Caledonia and Vanuatu to the farther west. It is about 1,800 kilometres from New Zealand's North Island. From 1900 to 1970, Tonga had British protected state status, with the United Kingdom looking after its foreign affairs under a Treaty of Friendship; the country never relinquished its sovereignty to any foreign power. In 2010, Tonga took a decisive path towards becoming a constitutional monarchy rather than a traditional absolute kingdom, after legislative reforms passed a course for the first partial representative elections.

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 word tonga is cognate to the Hawaiian region of Kona, meaning leeward in the Hawaiian language. Tonga became known in the West as the "Friendly Islands" because of the congenial reception accorded to Captain James Cook on his first visit in 1773, he arrived at the time of the ʻinasi festival, the yearly donation of the First Fruits to the Tuʻi Tonga and so received an invitation to the festivities. According to the writer William Mariner, the chiefs wanted to kill Cook during the gathering but could not agree on a plan. An Austronesian-speaking group linked to the archaeological construct known as the Lapita cultural complex reached and inhabited Tonga around 1500–1000 BC. Scholars have much debated the exact dates of the initial settlement of Tonga, but thorium dating confirms that the first settlers came to the oldest town, Nukuleka, by 888 BC, ± 8 years.

Not much is known before European contact because of the lack of a writing system, but oral history has survived and been recorded after the arrival of the Europeans. By the 12th century and the Tongan paramount chief, the Tuʻi Tonga, had a reputation across the central Pacific—from Niue, Rotuma, Wallis & Futuna, New Caledonia to Tikopia—leading some historians to speak of a Tuʻi Tonga Empire. In the 15th century and again in the 17th, civil war erupted; the Tongan people first encountered Europeans in 1616 when the Dutch vessel Eendracht, captained by Willem Schouten, made a short visit to trade. Came other Dutch explorers, including Jacob Le Maire. Noteworthy European visitors included James Cook in 1773, 1774, 1777. Whaling vessels were among the earliest regular western visitors; the first on record is the Ann & Hope, reported among the islands of Tonga in June 1799. The last known whaling visitor was the Albatross in 1899, they came for water and wood. The islands most visited were Ata,'Eua, Ha'apai and Vava'u.

Sometimes men from the islands were recruited to serve as crewmen on these vessels. The US Exploring Expedition visited in 1840. In 1845, the ambitious young warrior and orator Tāufaʻāhau united Tonga into a kingdom, he held the chiefly title of Tuʻi Kanokupolu, but had been baptised by Methodist missionaries with the name Siaosi in 1831. In 1875, with the help of missionary Shirley Waldemar Baker, he declared Tonga a constitutional monarchy. Tonga became a protected state under a Treaty of Friendship with Britain on 18 May 1900, when European settlers and rival Tongan chiefs tried to oust the second king; the treaty posted no higher permanent representative on Tonga than a British Consul. Under the protection of Britain, Tonga maintained its sovereignty, remained the only Pacific nation to retain its monarchical government; the Tongan monarchy follows an uninterrupted succession of hereditary rulers from one family. The 1918 flu pandemic, brought to Tonga by a ship from New Zealand, killed 1,800 Tongans, reflecting a mortality rate of about eight percent.

The Treaty of Friendship and Tonga's protection status ended in 1970 under arrangements established by Queen Salote Tupou III prior to her death in 1965. Owing to its British ties Tonga joined the Commonwealth in 1970, became a member of the United Nations in September 1999. While exposed to colonial pressures, Tonga has always governed itself, which makes it unique in the Pacific; as part of cost-cutting measures across the British Foreign Service, the British Government closed the British High Commission in Nukuʻalofa in March 2006, transferring representation of British interests to the High Commissioner in Fiji. The last resident British High Commissioner was Paul Nessling. Tonga is a constitutional monarchy. Reverence for the mona

HMS Grafton (1750)

HMS Grafton was a 70-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, built at Portsmouth Dockyard to the draught specified by the 1745 Establishment, launched on 29 March 1750. The ship served in the failed Louisbourg Expedition. Grafton was commissioned in February 1755 under Captain Charles Holmes, in the months before the commencement of the Seven Years' War between Britain and France. On 11 May 1755 she was assigned as a reinforcement for the British fleet commanded by Admiral Edward Boscawen, sailed for North America when war was formally declared in 1756. Grafton served until 1767. Winfield, Rif. British Warships of the Age of Sail 1714–1792: Design, Construction and Fates. Barnsley, United Kingdom: Seaforth. ISBN 9781844157006. Media related to HMS Grafton at Wikimedia Commons

The Girl from Backafall

The Girl from Backafall is a 1953 Swedish drama film directed by Bror Bügler and starring Viola Sundberg, Sven Lindberg and Kenne Fant. It is based on a poem by Gabriel Jönsson, turned into a popular song in the 1920s, about the romance between a sailor and a woman on the island of Ven in the Baltic Sea; the film's sets were designed by the art director Arne Åkermark. Viola Sundberg as Ellen Sven Lindberg as Per Kenne Fant as Nils Edvard Persson as Silla-Sven Holger Löwenadler as August Larsson Märta Dorff as Mrs. Larsson Erik'Bullen' Berglund as Captain Backe Dagmar Ebbesen as Mrs. Backe Olof Winnerstrand as Vicar Aurore Palmgren as Botilla Olav Riégo as Dücker Renée Björling as Mrs. Dücker Charles Gregmar as Robert Dücker Jan Molander as Hellberg Verner Edberg as Adolf Gösta Gustafson as Matts Shoemaker Lars Egge as Fredrik Åkerberg Anders Andelius as Sailor at'Tre bröder' Margit Andelius as Mrs. Svensson Per Appelberg as Boy at shooting range Astrid Bodin as Dücker's cook Helga Brofeldt as Gossip Thure Carlman as Fisherman Harald Emanuelsson as Lasse, postman Kurt Friborn as Guest at Robert's party Leif Hedenberg as Boy at the dance John Larsson as Dücker's driver Monica Lindman Sven Magnusson as Fisherman Gull Natorp as Vicar's wife Carin Norberg as Vera, Ellen's friend Mim Persson as Guest at the coffee party Bellan Roos as Dücker's housewife Håkan Rylander as Woker Bengt Sundmark as Boy at the dance Gaby Svallner as Guest at Robert's party Carin Swensson as Farmer's wife Olle Teimert as Boy at shooting range Rudolf Wendbladh as Schultze, German captain Annalisa Wenström as Waitress Berit Örtengren as Girl at shooting range Qvist, Per Olov & von Bagh, Peter.

Guide to the Cinema of Sweden and Finland. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000; the Girl from Backafall on IMDb