Tokelau History

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History[edit | edit source]

Tokelau is a group of coral atolls enclosing large lagoons. Tokelau means north wind in Tokelauan. The languages spoken are Tokelauan and English. Tokelau is a non-self-governing territory under New Zealand administration. New Zealand makes up their financial deficit and contributes their defense.

They are so isolated; they have a very poor economy. There are less than 1,500 inhabitants. Many immigrate to New Zealand each year. About 5,000 Tokelauans live in New Zealand. Samoa is its nearest neighbour. Atafu, Nukunonu, and Fakaofo are the islands and they lie about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

Early history - Originally settled by Polynesians from surrounding islands.
1765 - 1835 British sailors and Whalers visit. Some islanders have British names.
1840 - Catholic missionaries convert the people of Nukunonu.
1858 - Protestant Samoans convert the people of Atafu.
1850 - 1860 Peruvian slave traders kidnap 250 islanders. Another 500 are removed by missionaries, and many die from diseases.
1889 - Tokelau becomes a part of the crown colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands British protectorate. Many Tokelauans go to Banaba to work in the phosphate mines.
1916 - Tokelau becomes part of the British Commonwealth
1925 - Tokelau is administered by New Zealand.
1946 - Tokelau is officially administered by New Zealand.
2002 - Tokelau moves toward a free association with New Zealand, similar to that of Niue.