Tuvalu is an independent parliamentary democracy located in the Pacific Ocean between latitudes 5.5 degrees and 11 degrees South and longitudes 176 degrees and 18 degrees East.
Formerly known as the Ellice Islands, Tuvalu separated from the joint administration of the Gilbert & Ellice Islands and became an independent state on 1st October 1978 after more than eighty years of British colonial rule.
Being one of the Pacific Island nations, Tuvalu consists of nine islands scattered over a million square kilometers in the Western Pacific Ocean with the northernmost and southernmost islands stretching 600 nautical miles apart.
The word ‘Tuvalu’ translates to ‘eight standing together’ and refers to the eight traditional islands of Tuvalu (namely Nanumea, Niutao, Namumanga, Nui, Vaitupu, Nukufetau, Funafuti and Nukulaelae). The ninth island, Niulakita, is tiny and not permanently inhabited, and is therefore not considered as part of ‘ancient’ Tuvalu.
The population of Tuvalu is about 12,000 (as at end of 2008) and out of which 95% are Christians. The locals are made up of a majority of Polynesians who are warmth and hospitable. Although Tuvalu has her own language, English is widely spoken.
The capital of Tuvalu is Funafuti where the Government Building houses the administrative offices of the Government of Tuvalu. Tuvalu prides itself as a member of the Commonwealth, United Nations and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).