Friday, July 16, 2010

The Anthem of Wallis and Futuna

Wallis and Futuna, officially the Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands, is a Polynesian French island territory (but not part of, or even contiguous with, French Polynesia. Wallis and Futuna is located at the very opposite western end of Polynesia) in the South Pacific between Tuvalu to the northwest, Rotuma of Fiji to the west, the main part of Fiji to the southwest, Tonga to the southeast, Samoa to the east, the New Zealand-associated state of Tokelau to the northeast and to a more distant north the Phoenix Islands (Kiribati).

Its land area is 264 km2 with a population of about 15,000. Mata-Utu is the capital and biggest city. The territory is made up of three main volcanic tropical islands along with a number of tiny islets, and is split into two island groups that lie about 260 km apart, namely Wallis Islands (Uvea) in the northeast, and Hoorn Islands (Futuna Islands) in the southwest, including Futuna Island proper and the mostly uninhabited Alofi Island.

Since 2003 Wallis and Futuna has been a French overseas collectivity (collectivité d'outre-mer, or COM). Between 1961 and 2003, it had the status of a French overseas territory (territoire d'outre-mer, or TOM).

Like all departments of France, whether within metropolitan France or overseas (like Wallis and Futuna, in the south Pacific), "La Marseillaise" is used as the national anthem. (Unlike other nations with second-level administrative areas, French departments are less likely to adopt unofficial regional anthems.)

Above is a first day cover with special cancel featuring Rouget de Lisle, the anthem composer, issued by France in 1989.