Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The National Anthem of the Kingdom of Tonga

Tonga, officially the Kingdom of Tonga is an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, comprising 169 islands, 36 of them inhabited. The Kingdom stretches over a distance of about 800 kilometers (500 miles) in a north-south line. The islands that constitute the archipelago lie south of Samoa, about one-third of the way from New Zealand to Hawaii.

Tonga also became known as the Friendly Islands because of the friendly reception accorded to Captain James Cook on his first visit there in 1773. He happened to arrive at the time of the ʻinasi festival, the yearly donation of the first fruits to the Tuʻi Tonga, the islands' paramount chief, and received an invitation to the festivities. According to the writer William Mariner, in reality the chiefs had wanted to kill Cook during the gathering, but could not agree on a plan.

The only sovereign monarchy among the island nations of the Pacific Ocean, Tonga - uniquely among island nations in the South Pacific region - avoided formal colonization. Tonga plans to become a fully functioning constitutional monarchy after legislative reform and a more fully representative election take place in 2010.

The Tongan National anthem is "Koe Fasi Oe Tu'i Oe Otu Tonga". The words were written by Prince Uelingatoni Ngu Tupoumalohi and music composed by Karl Gustavus Schmitt. The anthem was adopted and first performed in 1874, although probably was in use earlier.

The above stamp is an imperforate plate proof of Tonga 1992 Coronation with King and lyrics to the Tongan National anthem. Only ten of these proofs currently exist.

The stamp below is a specimen set in 1992 during the 25th Anniversary of the King's Coronation.