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Wallis and Futuna

The Futuna island group was discovered by the Dutch in 1616 and Wallis by the British in 1767, but it was the French who declared a protectorate over the islands in 1842, and took official control of them between 1886 and 1888. Wallis Island is named after British Captain Samuel WALLIS who discovered it in 1767; Futuna is derived from the native word "futu," which is the name of the fish-poison tree found on the island.

Notably, Wallis and Futuna was the only French colony to side with the Vichy regime during World War II, a phase that ended in May of 1942 with the arrival of 2,000 American troops. In 1959, the inhabitants of the islands voted to become a French overseas territory and officially assumed this status in July 1961. Unlike many other colonized lands they prefer to stay within that jurisdiction, partly as a way of expressing autonomy from other, more local powers. Wallis and Futuna preferred to become a French overseas territory to avoid subordination to nearby New Caledonia.

Only small portions of the original forests remain, largely as a result of the continued use of wood as the main fuel source. 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 freshwater resources.

Uvea, Alo and Sigave are three kingdoms ruled by three different kings. On these islands, art is a woman's business, for only their expert hands know the secrets of traditional crafts. The most beautiful examples of this ancient artistic tradition are without a doubt the "tapas", sheets of bark decorated with plant-based paints, as well as shell sculptures and necklaces. The local vegetation is an incredible mixture of pine trees, coconut palms, mango trees, papaya trees and more, all lining paths that will take you to enchanting natural landscapes, and astonishing historic sites. When you arrive, you will no doubt be surprised to see crater lakes, where you can bathe under refreshing waterfalls.

Wallis and Futuna elects 1 senator to the French Senate and 1 deputy to the French National Assembly; French Senate - elections were last held on 28 September 2014 (next to be held by September 2017); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats - UMP 1; French National Assembly by-election last held on 24 March 2013; results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats - independent (backed by UMP) 1.

Court of Assizes or Cour d'Assizes (consists of 1 judge; court hears primarily serious criminal cases); note - appeals beyond the Court of Assizes are heard before the Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel, located in Noumea, New Caledonia.

The economy is limited to traditional subsistence agriculture, with 80% of labor force earnings coming from agriculture (coconuts and vegetables), livestock (mostly pigs), and fishing. However, roughly 70% of the labor force is employed in the public sector, although only about 20% of the population is in salaried employment.

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. France directly finances the public sector and healthcare and education services. It also provides funding for key development projects in a range of areas, including infrastructure, economic development, environmental management, and healthcare facilities. A key concern for Wallis and Futuna is an aging population with consequent economic development issues. Very few people aged 18-30 live on the islands due to the limited formal employment opportunities. Improving job creation is a current priority for the territorial government.

There are three traditional kingdoms in the territory, all of which have a degree of political power. In early 2016, the two kingdoms of Sigave and Alo both chose new kings. Long-serving monarch Tomasi Kulimoetoke ruled as Lavelua from 1959 until his death in 2007 at the age of 88. Two years before his death, rival clans tried to remove him, which led to an armed rebellion by his supporters. A French negotiator went to the island, but the eventual result was the Tomasi Kulimoetoke stayed on as king.

Kapeliele Faupala was crowned in 2008, but in 2014 he was removed by powerful families because of his political intervention - namely sacking two prime ministers, according to local reports. The position had been vacant since. In April 2016 Dozens of people occupyied the royal palace building on the French Pacific territory of Wallis and Futuna. The protestors tried to prevent the enthronement of a new king. The Wallis Island chiefs chose Tominiko Halagahu, 57, to be the new Lavelua, or king. But some from rival royal families refused to recognise the appointment, saying they should choose the king.



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