A group of more than 170 islands spread over an area of the South Pacific roughly the size of Japan Tonga is the last Polynesian monarchy.

A deeply conservative Christian country it is ruled by a king supported by hereditary noblemen who together have a perpetual majority in parliament electing or appointing 21 of its 30 members but moves are afoot to democratise the constitution.

A former British protectorate Tonga became fully independent in 1970 though it was never formally colonised.