A country in the southwest Pacific Ocean east of Fiji comprising about 150 islands, some 36 of which are inhabited. Long inhabited by Polynesians, the islands were sighted by the Dutch in 1616 and visited by the British navigator Capt. James Cook, who named them "The Friendly Islands" in the late 1700s. It became a British protectorate in 1900 and gained independence as a constitutional monarchy in 1970. Nuku'alofa is the capital and the largest city.
(click for a larger image)Tonga
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.