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Wallis and Futuna, officially the Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands (French: Wallis et Futuna or Territoire des îles Wallis et Futuna, Fakauvea and Fakafutuna: Uvea mo Futuna), is a Polynesian French island territory (but not part of, or even contiguous with, French Polynesiamarker) in the South Pacific between Fijimarker and Samoamarker. It is made up of three main volcanic tropical islands and a number of tiny islets. The territory is split into two island groups lying about 260 km apart:



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).

Politics

The territory is divided into three traditional chiefdoms (royaumes coutumiers): Uveamarker, on the island of Wallis, Sigavemarker, on the western part of the island of Futuna, and Alomarker, on the island of Alofi and on the eastern part of the island of Futuna (only Uvea is further subdivided, into three districts):

Chiefdom  District Capital Area(km²) PopulationJuly 2008 Census Villages
Wallis Islandsmarker
`Uveamarker (Wallis) Matā utumarker 77.5 9,227 23
Hihifo ("west") Vaitupu 23.4 2,203 5
Hahake ("east") Matā utumarker 27.8 3,759 6
Mu'a ("first") Mala'efo'ou (1) 26.3 3,265 12
Hoorn Islandsmarker
Sigavemarker (Singave) Leavamarker 30.0 1,591 6
Alomarker Mala'emarker 85.0 2,666 9
Wallis and Futuna Matā utumarker 192.5 13,484 38


(1) formerly called Mua

The capital of the territory is Matā utumarker on the island of Wallis, the most populous island. As a territory of France, it is governed under the French constitution of 28 September 1958, and has universal suffrage for those over 18 years of age. The French president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term; the high administrator is appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of the Interior; the presidents of the Territorial Government and the Territorial Assembly are elected by the members of the assembly.

The head of state is President Nicolas Sarkozy of France as represented by High Administrator Philippe Paolantoni (since September 2008). The President of the Territorial Assembly is Victor Brial since 11 December 2007. The Council of the Territory consists of three kings (kings of the three traditional chiefdoms, who are de jure members) and three members appointed by the high administrator on the advice of the Territorial Assembly.

The legislative branch consists of the unicameral Territorial Assembly or Assemblée territoriale of 20 seats; the members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. Wallis and Futuna elects one senator to the French Senatemarker and one deputy to the French National Assembly.

Justice is generally administered under French law by a tribunal of first instance in Mata-Utu, but the three traditional chiefdoms administer justice according to customary law (only for non-criminal cases). The court of appeal is in Nouméamarker, New Caledonia.

The territory participates in the Franc Zone, and as a permanent member of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and as an observer member of the South Pacific Forum.

History

Although the Dutchmarker and the British were the European discoverers of the islands in the 17th and 18th centuries, it was the French who were the first Europeans to settle in the territory, with the arrival of French missionaries in 1837, who converted the population to Roman Catholicism. Pierre Chanel, canonized as a saint in 1954, is a major patron of the island of Futuna and the region. Wallis is named after the British explorer, Samuel Wallis.

On 5 April 1842, the missionaries asked for the protection of France after the rebellion of a part of the local population. On 5 April 1887, the queen of Uveamarker (on the island of Wallis) signed a treaty officially establishing a French protectorate. The kings of Sigavemarker and Alomarker on the islands of Futuna and Alofi also signed a treaty establishing a French protectorate on 16 February 1888. The islands were put under the authority of the French colony of New Caledoniamarker.

In 1917, the three traditional chiefdoms were annexed to France and turned into the Colony of Wallis and Futuna, still under the authority of the Colony of New Caledonia.

In 1959, the inhabitants of the islands voted to become a French overseas territory, effective in 1961, thus ending their subordination to New Caledonia.

In 2005, the 50th king, Tomasi Kulimoetoke II, faced being deposed after giving sanctuary to his grandson who was convicted of manslaughter. The king claimed his grandson should be judged by tribal law rather than by the French penal system. There were riots in the streets involving the king's supporters, who were victorious over attempts to replace the king. Two years later, Tomasi Kulimoetoke died on 7 May 2007. The state was in a six-month period of mourning. During this period, mentioning a successor was forbidden. On 25 July 2008, Kapiliele Faupala was installed as king despite protests from some of the royal clans.

Geography

map of the territory of Wallis and Futuna
Lake Lalolalo on ʻUvea
Wallis and Futuna is located about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand, at , (225 mi west of Samoa and 300 mi north-east of Fiji).

The territory includes the island of Wallis (the most populous), the island of Futuna, the uninhabited island of Alofi (the population of Alofi was reportedly eaten by the cannibal people of Futuna in one single raid in the 19th century), and 20 uninhabited islets, totaling 274 square kilometres (106 sq mi) with of coastline. The highest point in the territory is Mont Singavimarker (on the island of Futuna) at .

The islands have a hot, rainy season from November to April and a cool, dry season from May to October. The rains accumulate 2,500 to 3,000 millimetres (98–118 in) each year. The average humidity is 80% and the temperature .

Only five percent of the islands' land area is arable land; permanent crops cover another 20%. Deforestation (only small portions of the original forests remain), largely as a result of the continued use of wood as the main fuel source, is a serious problem; as a consequence of cutting down the forests, the mountainous terrain of Futuna is particularly prone to erosion. There are no permanent settlements on Alofi because of the lack of natural fresh water resources.

Economy

The GDP of Wallis and Futuna in 2005 was 188 million US dollars at market exchange rates. The GDP per capita was 12,640 US dollars in 2005 (at market exchange rates, not at PPP), which is lower than in New Caledonia, French Polynesiamarker, and all the other French overseas departments and territories (except Mayottemarker), but higher than in all the small insular independent states of Oceania.

The territory's economy is limited to traditional subsistence agriculture, with about 80% of the labor force earning its livelihood from agriculture (coconuts and vegetables), livestock (mostly pigs), and fishing. About 4% of the population is employed in government. Revenues come from French Government subsidies, licensing of fishing rights to Japan and South Korea, import taxes, and remittances from expatriate workers in New Caledonia, French Polynesia and France.

Industries include copra, handicrafts, fishing, and lumber. Agricultural products include breadfruit, yam, taro, bananas, pigs, and goats. In 2007, US$63 million worth of commodities (foodstuffs, manufactured goods, transportation equipment, fuel, clothing) were imported, primarily from France, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand, and there were no exports (the previous year, in 2006, exports amounted to US$122,000 and consisted entirely of 19 tons of trochus shells).

Along with the French territories of New Caledonia and French Polynesia, the territory uses the CFP Franc, which is fixed vs. the euro, at the rate of 1,000 XPF = 8.38 euro.

Banking: In 1991, BNP Nouvelle-Calédonie, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, established a subsidiary, Banque de Wallis-et-Futuna, which currently is the only bank in the territory. Two years earlier Banque Indosuez had closed the branch at Mata-Utu that it had opened in 1977, leaving the territory without any bank.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Wallis and Futuna
The total population of the territory at the July 2008 census was 13,484 (68.4% on the island of Wallis, 31.6% on the island of Futuna), down from 14,944 at the July 2003 census. The vast majority of the population are of Polynesian ethnicity, with a small minority of Metropolitan French descent and/or native-born whites of French descent. More than 16,000 Wallisians and Futunians live as expatriates in New Caledoniamarker, which is more than the total population of Wallis and Futuna. The overwhelming majority of the people in Wallis and Futuna are Catholic.

Languages

At the 2008 census, among the population whose age was 14 and older, 60.2% of people reported that the language they speak the most at home is Wallisian, 29.9% reported that the language they speak the most at home is Futunan, and 9.7% reported that the language they speak the most at home is French. On Wallis Islandmarker, the languages most spoken at home were Wallisian (86.1%), French (12.1%), and Futunan (1.5%). On Futunamarker, the languages most spoken at home were Futunan (94.9%), French (4.2%), and Wallisian (0.8%).

At the same 2008 census, 88.5% of people whose age was 14 or older reported that they could speak, read and write either Wallisian or Futunan, whereas 7.2% reported that they had no knowledge of either Wallisian or Futunan. 78.2% of people whose age was 14 or older reported that they could speak, read and write French, whereas 17.3% reported that they had no knowledge of French. On Wallis Island, 81.1% of people whose age was 14 or older reported that they could speak, read and write French, whereas 14.3% reported that they had no knowledge of French. On Futuna, 71.6% of people whose age was 14 or older reported that they could speak, read and write French, whereas 24.3% reported that they had no knowledge of French.

Historical population

1969 1976 1983 1990 1996 2003 2008
8,546 9,192 12,408 13,705 14,166 14,944 13,484
Official figures from past censuses.


Culture

The culture of those islands is Polynesian, as is the music. Additionally, the Kailao, often thought of as a Tongan war dance, was imported to Tongamarker from 'Uvea.

Transportation and communications

In 1994, the territory had 1,125 telephones in use, had one AM radio station, and two television broadcast stations. Due to this, communication costs are high, costing upto ten times as much as western countries.The island of Wallis has about of highway, of which 16 paved, while the island of Futuna has only , none paved. The territory has two main ports and harbors, Mata-Utu and Leavamarker (on the island of Futuna), that support its merchant marine fleet consisting of three ships (two passenger ships and a petroleum tanker), totaling 92,060 GRT or 45,881 tonnes. There are two airports, one on Wallismarker with a paved runway of , and one on Futunamarker with a unpaved strip. New Caledonia-based Aircalin operates the only commercial flights that go to Wallis, where it has an office in Mata-Utu. There are no commercial boat operators.

Miscellaneous

The territory's data code and country code (top level Internet domain) is .wf. Currently this is suspended in favor of the .fr .nc (Nouvelle Calédonie) data code.

See also



References

External links




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