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Map of the Uvea Islands

ʻUvea (Wallisian: Wallis) is an island in the Pacific Ocean belonging to the French overseas collectivity (collectivité d'outre-mer, or COM) of Wallis and Futuna.

Contents

Geography

The island has an area of 77,5 km² and a circumference of c. 50 km. Its highest point is Mount Loka (131 m). There are also a handful of large lakes, a sign of the islands volcanic origin, some of them almost perfect circles and with straight vertical walls, like Lano Lalolalo.

Lano Lalolalo

Uvea is located 240 km northeast of Futuna and Alofi islands. Together with some 15 smaller islands surrounding it, on its huge barrier reef, it forms the Wallis archipelago. Wallis has a fertile volcanic soil and sufficient rainfall to allow subsistence farming.

History

Archaeological excavations have identified sites on Wallis dating from circa 1400 BC.

It was part of the Tongan maritime empire from around the 13th to 16th century. By that time the influence of the Tuʻi Tonga had declined so much that ʻUvea became important in itself. Several current, high ranking Tongan titles, like Halaevalu, trace their descent from ʻUvea. A legendary large canoe, the Lomipeau was built on the island as a donation to the Tuʻi Tonga. The big fortress of Talietumu close to Lotoalahi in Mua was the last holdout of the Tongans until they were defeated. The ruins of the place are still a tourist attraction:

Ruins of the fortress of Talietumu

The island was renamed Wallis after an Cornish navigator, Captain Samuel Wallis, who discovered it while sailing the HMS Dolphin on August 16, 1767, following his discovery of Tahiti.

Demographics

The population of the island was 10,071 in 2003 (67% of the territory's population). Most of the inhabitants speak ʻUvean (or Wallisian) as their mother tongue. Almost all are Roman Catholic, and there are numerous religious buildings on the island.

Administration

ʻUvea (Wallis) is one of the three traditional kingdoms of Wallis and Futuna, the other two being Alo and Sigave in the Hoorn Islands (Futuna Islands). Its capital, Matāʻutu, located on the east coast, is also the capital of the whole territory, Wallis and Futuna. The kingdom is divided into three districts, which are listed from north to south:

District (meaning) Capital Area
(km²)
Population
Census 2003
Villages
Hihifo (west) Vaitupu 23.4 2422 5
Hahake (east) Matāʻutu 27.8 3950 6
Mu'a (first) Mala'efo'ou (1) 26.3 3699 12
'Uvea (Wallis) chiefdom Matāʻutu 77.5 10071 23

(1) formerly called Mua

Transportation

The only commercial flights that go to Wallis are operated by the New Caledonia based Aircalin. There is an Aircalin office in Matāʻutu in Hahake.

See also

References

External links

Coordinates: 13°10′S 176°08′W / 13.167°S 176.133°W / -13.167; -176.133

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Oceania : Wallis and Futuna : Wallis Island
Contents

Wallis Island (ʻUvea) is the largest island in the Wallis Islands group of Wallis and Futuna. It is surrounded by 15 smaller islands, all of which are uninhabited.

  • Hahake ("east")
  • Hihifo ("west")
  • Mu'a ("first")
  • Mala'efo'ou (formerly Mua) - capital of Mu'a District
  • Mata-Utu (Matāʻutu) - capital of Hahake District, and capital of Wallis and Futuna
  • Vaitupu - capital of Hihifo District

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