May 24, 2015

1606 TONGA - A Philatelic Souvenir Postcard from the Friendly Islands

Tonga, officially the Kingdom of Tonga, is a Polynesian sovereign state and archipelago comprising 177 islands with a total surface area of about 750 square kilometres scattered over 700,000 square kilometres of the southern Pacific Ocean, of which 52 islands are inhabited by its 103,000 people. Seventy percent of Tongans reside on the main island of Tongatapu. It is surrounded by Fiji and Wallis and Futuna (France) to the northwest, Samoa to the northeast, Niue to the east, Kermadec (part of New Zealand) to the southwest, and New Caledonia (France) and Vanuatu to the farther west. Tonga became known as the Friendly Islands because of the congenial reception accorded to Captain James Cook on his first visit in 1773

While exposed to colonial forces, Tonga has never lost indigenous governance, a fact that makes Tonga unique in the Pacific and gives Tongans much pride, as well as confidence in the monarchical system, even if it was named the sixth most corrupt country in the world by Forbes magazine in 2008. Tonga's current king, Tupou VI, traces his line directly back through six generations of monarchs. The currency of Tonga is paʻanga (subdivided into 100 seniti), which is not convertible and is pegged to a basket of currencies. Introduced on 3 April 1967, it replaced the pound at a rate of 1 pound = 2 paʻanga. Since 1991 the paʻanga has continuously declined. 

About the stamp

The stamp was released on March 6, 2012, to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II (the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen  Elizabeth II on 6 February 1952). In addition to the stamp was issued a miniature sheet. The lower margin of the miniature sheet draws attention to The Most Illustrious Order Of Queen Salote Tupou III who attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. Those who witnessed the coronation on the first ever television broadcast of a British coronation fell in love with the Queen of Tonga as she insisted on travelling to the abbey in an open carriage with the roof pushed back despite the falling rain, so that people could see her.

This is a post for Sunday Stamps II-23, run by Violet Sky from See It On A Postcard. The theme of this week is: Royalty, from any country (but a bonus if it's Victoria). Click here to visit Violet’s blog and all the other participants.

Tonga - Wikipedia

Sender: Philatelic Bureau of Tonga
Sent from Nukuʻalofa (Tongatapu / Tonga), on 07.08.2014


  1. Tonga is definitely a rare country to see!

  2. Love the postcard. When they show clips of the coronation procession on TV the queen of Tonga is usually included.