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(formerly Ellice Islands)

(See reference map X)

NOTE: On 1 October 1975, by Constitutional Order, the Ellice Islands were formally, separated from the British colony of Gilbert and Ellice Islands, thus forming the colony of Tuvalu. The remaining islands in the former Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony are now named Kiribati. Tuvalu includes the islands of Nanumanga, Nanumea, Nui, Niutao, Vaitupu, and the four islands of the Tuvalu group formerly claimed by the United States: Funafuti, Nukufetau, Nukulailai (Nukulaelae), and Nurakita (Niulakita).


26 km2


Limits of territorial waters: 3 nm (fishing 200 nm, economic 200 nm)

Coastline: about 24 km


Population: 9,000 (July 1982), average annual growth rate 1.4%

Nationality: noun—Tuvaluans(s); adjective—Tuvaluan

Ethnic divisions: 96% Polynesian

Religion: Protestant

Literacy: less than 50%


Official name: Tuvalu

Type: constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth

Capital: Funafuti

House of Assembly: eight members

Government leader: Prime Minister Dr. Tomasi PUAPUA


GNP: $1.2 million (1975), $180 per capita

Electric power: 2,600 kW capacity (1979); 3.0 million kWh produced (1979), 433 kWh per capita

Exports: $67,000 (1977); copra

Imports: $1.44 million (1977); food and mineral fuels

Major trade partners: Australia, UK

Aid: economic commitments—Western (non-US) countries, ODA (1970-79), $22 million

Budget: (1978) $1.6 million

Monetary conversion rate: Australian (A)$1=US$1.12 (1979); A$1=US$1.14 (1978)


Railroads: none

Highways: 8 km gravel

Inland waterways: none

Ports: 1 minor

Civil air: no major transport aircraft

Airfields: 1 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: 1 AM station; about 300 radio telephones (0.5 per 100 popl.); 4,000 radio sets