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Country profile - Wallis and Futuna

Wallis and Futuna flag
A Polynesian French island territory (but not part of, or even contiguous with, French Polynesia) in the South Pacific between Fiji and Samoa. It is made up of three main volcanic tropical isalnds and a number of tiny islets. The territory is split into two island groups lying about 260 km apart.

Although the Dutch and the British were the European discoverers of the islands in the 17th and 18th centuries, it was the French who were the first Europeans to settle in the territory, with the arrival of French missionaries in 1837, who converted the population to Roman Catholisim. Wallis is named after the British explorer, Samuel Wallis.

On April 5, 1842, they asked for the protection of France after the rebellion of a part of the local population. On April 5, 1887, the queen of Uvea (on the island of Wallis) signed a treaty officially establishing a French protectorate. The kings of Sigave and Alo on the islands of Futuna and Alofi also signed a treaty establishing a French protectorate on February 16, 1888. The islands were put under the authority of the French colony of New Caledonia.

In 1917, the three traditional chiefdoms were annexed to France and turned into the Colony of Wallis and Futuna, still under the authority of the Colony of New Caledonia.

In 1959, the inhabitants of the islands voted to become a French overseas territory, effective in 1961, thus ending their subordination to New Caledonia.

In 2005 the 50th king, Tomasi Kulimoetoke II, faced being deposed after giving sanctuary to his grandson who was convicted of manslaughter. The king claimed his grandson should be judged by tribal law rather than by the French penal system. There were riots in the streets involving the king's supporters, which were victorious over attempts to replace the king. Two years later, Tomasi Kulimoetoke died on May 7, 2007. The state was in a six-month period of mourning. During this period, mentioning a successor was forbidden. On July 25, 2008, Kapiliele Faupala was installed as king despite protests from some of the royal clans.
Additional information
Full name: Wallis and Futuna
Population: 15,480 July 2005 estimate
Capital: Mata-Utu
Area: 264 sq km (102 sq mi)
Major languages: French, ʻUvean, Futunan
Major religions: Christianity
Monetary unit: Pacific franc
Main exports: copra, handicrafts, fishing, and lumber
Member countries
Cook Islands
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Republic of the Fiji Islands
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French Polynesia
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State of Hawaii
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The Republic of Kiribati
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Republic of the Marshall Islands
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Federated States of Micronesia
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Republic of Nauru
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New Caledonia
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The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)
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Republic of Palau
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The Independent State of Papua New Guinea
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The Independent State of Samoa
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Solomon Islands
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Kingdom of Tonga
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Republic of Vanuatu
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Wallis and Futuna
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