Tonga celebrates Tonga National Day every 4 November to commemorate the adoption of its constitution back in 1875, upon approval from King George Tupou I. In fact, the original name of National Day in Tonga was Constitution Day, but in 2006, the name was changed and the purpose broadened to include celebration of the whole national heritage of Tonga.
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Tonga’s history is unique among Pacific island nations. It was discovered by Captain Cook in 1773, and became known as the “Friendly Islands“ when a great welcome was given to the crew. It adopted a US-style Constitution on its own in 1875, with an executive, legislative, and judicial branch and with balance of power and an amendment process.
Then, in 1900, King Tupou II agreed to make his kingdom a British protectorate. This move prevented Tonga from every being colonised in the usual sense of the term, protected it from invasion by other European nations, and gave it great economic and other benefits.
But in 1970, Tonga gained independence, and just as peacefully as it had become a “colony” 70 years before.
Tonga National Day is celebrated with patriotic flag hoistings, speech-making, parades and marches, and traditional cultural performances.