uvalu, pronounced "too-VAH-loo", is an independent constitutional monarchy in the southwest Pacific Ocean between latitudes 5 degrees and 11 degrees south and longitudes 176 degrees and 180 degrees east. Formerly known as the Ellice Islands, they separated from the Gilbert Islands after a referendum in 1975, and achieved independence from Great Britain on October 1, 1978. The population of 11,636 (est 2005) live on Tuvalu`s nine atolls, which have a total land area of 10 square miles, or 27 square kilometres. This ranks Tuvalu as the fourth smallest country in the world, in terms of land area.

The country name roughly translates to "8 standing together". This refers to the eight traditional islands of Tuvalu. The nine islands, from north to south, are:

Nanumaga (formerly spelled Nanumanga)

The ninth island, tiny Niulakita, was inhabited only since the 1950`s, and was not part of "ancient" Tuvalu. It is now inhabited by natives of Niutao.

In 1986, Tuvaluans approved a new, locally written constitution.

Funafuti, pronounced "foo-NAH-footi", is the capital of Tuvalu. Most administration offices are all located in Vaiaku Village on Fogafale (formerly spelled Fongafale) Islet, Funafuti atoll.

st-churchPeople: Ethnic Tuvaluans are Polynesian, and account for 94% of the population. However, the majority of the 600 natives on Nui are of Gilbertese (Micronesian) origin. Most Tuvaluans are members of the Christian Church of Tuvalu (Ekalesia Kelisiano o Tuvalu), autonomous since 1968 and derived from the Congregationalist foundation of the London Missionary Society. Life, especially on outer islands, revolves around religion.



Cheap Flights to St.Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg is the place miracles are made. Today, Russia’s second largest city is known for its stunning tsarist architecture, fashionable restaurants, shopping and electric nightlife, all set along the beautiful Neva River. But St. Petersburg is also the site of some of the most pivotal moments in Russia's history, most notably the Siege of Leningrad.

One of the most awesome spectacles you can see once you've stepped off a flight to St. Petersburg are the “white nights” that occur in the city in the summer. Find cheap flights to St. Petersburg in June and July and watch in awe as the city glows from the prolonged twilight. The sun never drops far enough below the horizon to create the usual nighttime darkness, so the city is constantly lit up under the miraculous white light.

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