Wallis Island


Wallis Island

Wallis ( _wl. okinaUvea) is an island in the Pacific Ocean belonging to the French overseas collectivity ("collectivité d'outre-mer", or "COM") of Wallis and Futuna.

Geography

The island has an area of 77,5 km² and a circumference of c. 50 km. Its highest point is Mount Loka (131 m). There are also a handful of large lakes, a sign of the islands volcanic origin, some of them almost perfect circles and with straight vertical walls, like Lano Lalolalo.

Wallis is located 240 km northeast of Futuna and Alofi islands. Together with some 15 smaller islands surrounding it, on its huge barrier reef, it forms the Wallis archipelago. Wallis has a fertile volcanic soil and sufficient rainfall to allow subsistence farming.

History

Archaeological excavations have identified sites on Wallis dating from circa 1400 BC.

It was part of the Tongan maritime empire from around the 13th to 16th century. By that time the influence of the Tuokinai Tonga had declined so much that okinaUvea became important in itself. Several current, high ranking Tongan titles, like Halaevalu, trace their descent from okinaUvea. A legendary large canoe, the Lomipeau was built on the island as a donation to the Tuokinai Tonga. The big fortress of Talietumu close to Lotoalahi in Mua was the last holdout of the Tongans until they were defeated. The ruins of the place are still a tourist attraction:

The island was renamed Wallis after an Cornish navigator, Captain Samuel Wallis, who discovered it while sailing the HMS "Dolphin" on August 16 1767, following his discovery of Tahiti.

Demographics

The population of the island was 10,071 in 2003 (67% of the territory's population). Most of the inhabitants speak okinaUvean (or Wallisian) as their mother tongue. Almost all are Roman Catholic, and there are numerous religious buildings on the island.

Administration

okinaUvea (Wallis) is one of the three traditional chiefdoms of Wallis and Futuna, the other two being Alo and Sigave in the Hoorn Islands (Futuna Islands). Its capital, Matāokinautu, located on the east coast, is also the capital of the whole territory, Wallis and Futuna. The chiefdom is divided into three districts, which are listed from north to south:

(1) formerly called Mua

Transportation

The only commercial flights that go to Wallis are operated by the New Caledonia based Aircalin. There is an Aircalin office in Matāokinautu in Hahake.

ee also

* Hihifo Airport

References

* E.G. Burrows; Ethnology of Uvea; BPB 1937
*

External links

* [http://www.tlfq.ulaval.ca/axl/pacifique/wallis-futuna.htm French world linguistics site]
* [http://www.uvea-mo-futuna.com 'Uvea mo Futuna (Wallis and Futuna online magazine)]
* [http://www.quid.fr/departements.html?mode=detail&dep=986&style=map&secrec=1 Map showing details of Wallis Island]
* [http://www.angelfire.com/poetry/bopeep/Wallispics.html Pictures of Wallis]
* [http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/wf-w.html Flag of `Ueva chiefdom]
*ethnologue|code=wls
* [http://language.psy.auckland.ac.nz/austronesian/language.php?id=258 Wallis Wordlist at the Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database]


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