about 30,000 years ago, the indigenous people of Australia
began their expansion across the Pacific. In the 9th century
they were scattered throughout practically all of Polynesia.
Polynesians from Samoa and Tonga arrived in the archipelago,
which they called "Funafuti" - the present Tuvalu.
16th century, the islands were discovered by Europeans, but
they did not settle due to the lack of riches that could be
extracted. One of these explorers named the archipelago the
name Ellice Islands.
In 1850-75, thousands of men were captured by slave
traders and sent to the phosphate mines (guano) in Peru and
the salt terminals in Chile. The consequence was that the
population dropped from 20,000 to 3,000. As slave suppliers,
the Pacific Islands had the advantage of having direct links
to markets on the Pacific coast of Latin America.
In 1865, another invasion took place - of British and
North American missionaries. From about 1892 the islands
were a British patronage. In 1915, together with the
neighboring Gilbert Islands, they were transformed into the
colony of Gilbert and Ellice Islands (see also: Kiribati).
However, the union between the two archipelagos was quite
random. In a referendum in 1974, 90% voted for separation
and this was carried out in October 1975. The first free
elections took place in October 1975, when the number of
seats in parliament increased from 8 to 12. Toaripi Lauti
was named prime minister.
On October 1, 1978, the archipelago became independent
and adopted the name Tuvalu, which in the local language
means "eight together" - referring to the eight of the
country's inhabited islands. They gained autonomy from
London, but instead became closely associated with
Australia, which exerts considerable influence on the
Acc. a friendship agreement signed with the United States
in April 1979, the superpower waives its claims regarding
the islands of Nurakita, Nukulaelae, Funafuti and Nukufetau.
However, the deal has not yet been ratified in the North
On December 8, 1981, Lauti was succeeded by the Prime
Minister's post by Tomasi Puapua. In September 1985 the
third elections were held and Doctor Puapua was re-elected.
In February 1986, the government condemned the French
nuclear test program on the island of Muroroa in French
Polynesia, and denied a French warship access to the
country. It had come on a "friendship mission".
One of the country's most important sources of foreign
currency revenue is the sale of stamps to philatelists
worldwide. The country is the smallest in terms of both
surface and population among the Least Developed Countries.
Fishing rights for foreign fishing vessels provide the
country $ 100,000 in revenue annually.
A UN report on the greenhouse effect and global warming
states that Tuvalu is one of the countries that can
disappear into the sea as a result of pollution and rising
sea levels - unless chalk is taken to slow development.
Due to the lack of natural resources, the country's
limited population and the lack of internal savings and
capital, the country is largely dependent on aid from abroad
- especially from Australia - to finance its general state
and development budget. In 1989, 10% of the state's revenue
came from taxes on returned funds from that quarter of the
population - especially young people - working on
neighboring islands or in the phosphate mines.