Tuvalu, in the South Pacific, is an independent island nation within the British Commonwealth. Its 9 islands comprise small, thinly populated atolls and reef islands with palm-fringed beaches and WWII sites. Off Funafuti, the capital, the Funafuti Conservation Area offers calm waters for diving and snorkeling among sea turtles and tropical fish, plus several uninhabited islets sheltering sea-birds. Tuvalu consists of three reef islands and six true atolls. Its small, scattered group of atolls have poor soil and a total land area of only about 26 square kilometers (less than 10 sq. mi.) making it the fourth smallest country in the world. The islets that form the atolls are very low-lying.

Key Cities

Key cities in Tuvalu include Funafuti, Savave Village, Motufoua School, Teava Village, Tumaseu Village, Tokelau Village, Toga Village, Asau Village, Kulia Village, Lolua village.

Historical, Cultural facts & Religion

The first inhabitants of Tuvalu were Polynesians so that the origins of the people of Tuvalu can be traced to the spread of humans out of Southeast Asia, from Taiwan, via Melanesia and across the Pacific islands of Polynesia.  Tuvalu became fully independent within the Commonwealth on 1 October 1978. The culture of Tuvalu is unique yet typical of the culture of the South Pacific Islands. Tuvalu is largely Polynesian (96%), with an emphasis on traditional ways, friendliness and a relaxed lifestyle. The people are famous for their dancing, music and handicrafts, which are highly regarded in the Pacific. Christianity is the predominant religion in Tuvalu. In particular, 94% of Tuvalu’s population are Protestant Christians. More than 91% of Protestant Christians in Tuvalu are members of the Church of Tuvalu, 3% are members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and about 4.6% belong to the Brethren Church.

Brief Country History

The formation of coral islands was a topic of considerable scientific argument in the 19th century. The question that particularly bothered scientists was this: since corals grow only at shallow depths in the sea (rarely below 80 meters), how is it that coral rock, formed from their remains, often extends for hundreds of meters beneath the sea.

In 1842 the famous scientist Charles Darwin, who visited the Pacific in 1835-36, put forward the theory that coral islands had been built on slowly subsiding volcanic rocks. As the volcanic foundation sank, it carried the dead coral down to greater depths. Meanwhile, new deposits of coral were being added to the top of the pile, near the surface, so that the upward growth of the coral kept pace with the subsidence. At some later date, another volcanic movement occurred and pushed some of the coral up to form islands. Thus, it was, said Darwin that a solid mass of coral rock could be found above the surface of the sea, and extend from there, through the waters in which it had been formed down to depths at which the coral had never lived.

After many years of discussion on the structures of atolls, the Royal Society of London decided to bore down into the coral and obtain a sample of it from far beneath the surface to see if these samples would contain traces of shallow-water organisms. In 1896 an expedition was sent to Tuvalu (Funafuti) which managed to bore to a depth of 33 meters. In 1897 another party of scientists led by Professor Edgeworth David of the University of Sydney carried the boring to a depth of 200 meters while the following year a third group managed to obtain a sample from a depth of 340 meters. All the samples obtained were found to contain traces of shallow-water organisms, but the drilling was never able to reach the volcanic base of Funafuti. Another attempt was made in 1911, which was also unsuccessful. The boreholes can still be seen to this day, at the site now called David’s Drill.

Mrs. David, the wife of Professor Edgeworth David wrote a book describing her experiences in Funafuti. It was published in 1899 and called Funafuti, Or Three Months on a Coral Island.

Language (s) Written & Spoken

Tuvaluan is the most common language spoken in Tuvalu. It is used alongside English in official documents and by governmental organizations. The language is closely linked to Polynesian languages such as Samoan, Hawaiian, Tongan, and Tahitian.

Important Types of Commerce in Tuvalu

Tuvalu’s main industries are fishing and tourism, and the country also exports small quantities of copra (dried coconut meat from which oil may be extracted). Manufacturing sub-sectors include small-scale timber processing and various handicrafts.

Language Services US and others will provide working with Tuvalu

Tuvalu is a neighbor of several countries that it does business with, and as such, there is significant demand for a Tuvaluan translator, Tuvaluan interpreter or Tuvaluan document translation.  Tuvaluan is spoken by almost everyone in Tuvalu.  Most Tuvaluans are also fluent in their local dialect such as Balinese or Javanese with is predominately used at home and in their daily social lives. Your Tuvaluan interpreter will understand that the Tuvaluan language is used in the media outlets, business and administrative purposes and taught in schools and universities.

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