|Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands
Territoire des îles Wallis et Futuna
|Anthem: La Marseillaise
(and largest city)
|Vernacular languages||ʻUvean, Futunan|
|Government||Overseas territory of France|
|-||President of France||Nicolas Sarkozy|
|-||Administrator Superior||Philippe Paolantoni|
|-||President of the Territorial Assembly||Victor Brial|
King of Uvea since 2008,
king of Alo since 2008
king of Sigave since 2004
|-||Total||264 km2 (211th)
102 sq mi
|-||July 2009 estimate||15,289 (220th)|
|-||July 2008 census||13,484|
|GDP (nominal)||2005 estimate|
|-||Total||US$188 million (not ranked)|
|-||Per capita||US$12,640 (not ranked)|
|Currency||CFP franc (
Wallis and Futuna, officially the Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands (French: Wallis et Futuna or Territoire des îles Wallis et Futuna, Fakauvea and Fakafutuna: Uvea mo Futuna), is a Polynesian French island territory (but not part of, or even contiguous with, French Polynesia) in the South Pacific between Fiji and Samoa. It is made up of three main volcanic tropical islands and a number of tiny islets. The territory is split into two island groups lying about 260 km apart:
Since 2003 Wallis and Futuna has been a French overseas collectivity (collectivité d'outre-mer, or COM). Between 1961 and 2003, it had the status of a French overseas territory (territoire d'outre-mer, or TOM).
The territory is divided into three traditional kingdoms (royaumes coutumiers): Uvea, on the island of Wallis, Sigave, on the western part of the island of Futuna, and Alo, on the island of Alofi and on the eastern part of the island of Futuna (only Uvea is further subdivided, into three districts):
July 2008 Census
|Mu'a ("first")||Mala'efo'ou (1)||26.3||3,265||12|
|Wallis and Futuna||Matāʻutu||192.5||13,484||38|
(1) formerly called Mua
The capital of the territory is Matāʻutu on the island of Wallis, the most populous island. As a territory of France, it is governed under the French constitution of 28 September 1958, and has universal suffrage for those over 18 years of age. The French president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term; the high administrator is appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of the Interior; the presidents of the Territorial Government and the Territorial Assembly are elected by the members of the assembly.
The head of state is President Nicolas Sarkozy of France as represented by High Administrator Philippe Paolantoni (since September 2008). The President of the Territorial Assembly is Victor Brial since 11 December 2007. The Council of the Territory consists of three kings (monarchs of the three pre-colonial kingdoms) and three members appointed by the high administrator on the advice of the Territorial Assembly.
The legislative branch consists of the unicameral Territorial Assembly or Assemblée territoriale of 20 seats; the members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. Wallis and Futuna elects one senator to the French Senate and one deputy to the French National Assembly.
Justice is generally administered under French law by a tribunal of first instance in Mata-Utu, but the three traditional kingdoms administer justice according to customary law (only for non-criminal cases). The court of appeal is in Nouméa, New Caledonia.
Although the Dutch and the British were the European discoverers of the islands in the 17th and 18th centuries, it was the French who were the first Europeans to settle in the territory, with the arrival of French missionaries in 1837, who converted the population to Roman Catholicism. Pierre Chanel, canonized as a saint in 1954, is a major patron of the island of Futuna and the region. Wallis is named after the British explorer, Samuel Wallis.
On 5 April 1842, the missionaries asked for the protection of France after the rebellion of a part of the local population. On 5 April 1887, the queen of Uvea (on the island of Wallis) signed a treaty officially establishing a French protectorate. The kings of Sigave and Alo on the islands of Futuna and Alofi also signed a treaty establishing a French protectorate on 16 February 1888. The islands were put under the authority of the French colony of New Caledonia.
In 1917, the three traditional kingdoms were annexed to France and turned into the Colony of Wallis and Futuna, still under the authority of the Colony of New Caledonia.
In 2005, the 50th king, Tomasi Kulimoetoke II, faced being deposed after giving sanctuary to his grandson who was convicted of manslaughter. The king claimed his grandson should be judged by tribal law rather than by the French penal system. There were riots in the streets involving the king's supporters, who were victorious over attempts to replace the king. Two years later, Tomasi Kulimoetoke died on 7 May 2007. The state was in a six-month period of mourning. During this period, mentioning a successor was forbidden. On 25 July 2008, Kapiliele Faupala was installed as king despite protests from some of the royal clans.
Wallis and Futuna is located about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand, at Coordinates: , (225 mi west of Samoa and 300 mi north-east of Fiji).
The territory includes the island of Wallis (the most populous), the island of Futuna, the uninhabited island of Alofi (the population of Alofi was reportedly eaten by the cannibal people of Futuna in one single raid in the 19th century), and 20 uninhabited islets, totaling 274 square kilometres (106 sq mi) with 129 kilometres (80 mi) of coastline. The highest point in the territory is Mont Singavi (on the island of Futuna) at 765 metres (2,510 ft).
The islands have a hot, rainy season from November to April and a cool, dry season from May to October. The rains accumulate 2,500 to 3,000 millimetres (98–118 in) each year. The average humidity is 80% and the temperature 26.6 °C (79.9 °F).
Only five percent of the islands' land area is arable land; permanent crops cover another 20%. Deforestation (only small portions of the original forests remain), largely as a result of the continued use of wood as the main fuel source, is a serious problem; 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 fresh water resources.
The GDP of Wallis and Futuna in 2005 was 188 million US dollars at market exchange rates. The GDP per capita was 12,640 US dollars in 2005 (at market exchange rates, not at PPP), which is lower than in New Caledonia, French Polynesia, and all the other French overseas departments and territories (except Mayotte), but higher than in all the small insular independent states of Oceania.
The territory's economy is limited to traditional subsistence agriculture, with about 80% of the labor force earning its livelihood from agriculture (coconuts and vegetables), livestock (mostly pigs), and fishing. About 4% of the population is employed in government. 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, French Polynesia and France.
Industries include copra, handicrafts, fishing, and lumber. Agricultural products include breadfruit, yams, taro, bananas, pigs, and goats. In 2007, US$63 million worth of commodities (foodstuffs, manufactured goods, transportation equipment, fuel, clothing) were imported, primarily from France, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand, and there were no exports (the previous year, in 2006, exports amounted to US$122,000 and consisted entirely of 19 tons of trochus shells).
Banking: In 1991, BNP Nouvelle-Calédonie, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, established a subsidiary, Banque de Wallis et Futuna, which currently is the only bank in the territory. Two years earlier Banque Indosuez had closed the branch at Mata-Utu that it had opened in 1977, leaving the territory without any bank.
The total population of the territory at the July 2008 census was 13,484 (68.4% on the island of Wallis, 31.6% on the island of Futuna), down from 14,944 at the July 2003 census. The vast majority of the population are of Polynesian ethnicity, with a small minority of Metropolitan French descent and/or native-born whites of French descent. More than 16,000 Wallisians and Futunians live as expatriates in New Caledonia, which is more than the total population of Wallis and Futuna. The overwhelming majority of the people in Wallis and Futuna are Catholic.
At the 2008 census, among the population whose age was 14 and older, 60.2% of people reported that the language they speak the most at home is Wallisian, 29.9% reported that the language they speak the most at home is Futunan, and 9.7% reported that the language they speak the most at home is French. On Wallis Island, the languages most spoken at home were Wallisian (86.1%), French (12.1%), and Futunan (1.5%). On Futuna, the languages most spoken at home were Futunan (94.9%), French (4.2%), and Wallisian (0.8%).
At the same 2008 census, 88.5% of people whose age was 14 or older reported that they could speak, read and write either Wallisian or Futunan, whereas 7.2% reported that they had no knowledge of either Wallisian or Futunan. 78.2% of people whose age was 14 or older reported that they could speak, read and write French, whereas 17.3% reported that they had no knowledge of French. On Wallis Island, 81.1% of people whose age was 14 or older reported that they could speak, read and write French, whereas 14.3% reported that they had no knowledge of French. On Futuna, 71.6% of people whose age was 14 or older reported that they could speak, read and write French, whereas 24.3% reported that they had no knowledge of French.
|Official figures from past censuses.|
In 1994, the territory had 1,125 telephones in use, had one AM radio station, and two television broadcast stations. Due to this, communication costs are high, costing up to ten times as much as western countries. The island of Wallis has about 100 kilometres (62 mi) of highway, of which 16 paved, while the island of Futuna has only 20 kilometres (12 mi), none paved. The territory has two main ports and harbors, Mata-Utu and Leava (on the island of Futuna), that support its merchant marine fleet consisting of three ships (two passenger ships and a petroleum tanker), totaling 92,060 GRT or 45,881 tonnes. There are two airports, one on Wallis with a paved runway of 2,100 metres (6,900 ft), and one on Futuna with a 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) unpaved strip. New Caledonia-based Aircalin operates the only commercial flights that go to Wallis, where it has an office in Mata-Utu. There are no commercial boat operators.