Moreover the London Missionary Society, having worked westward from its headquarters in Tahiti to Tonga as early as 1797, founded a settlement in Fiji in 1835.
The real ruler and the chief officers of the state were members of the Tupou family, from which also the wife of the Tui Tonga was always chosen, whose descendants through the female line had special honours and privileges, under the title of tamaha, recalling the vasu of Fiji.
Their prior conversion to Christianity gave the people from Tonga several advantages over their neighbors.
The Tonga and Kermadec trenches, both deeper than 4000 fathoms, stretch from the Samoa Islands southwards toward New Zealand for a distance of 1600 nautical miles.
In 1877 John Selwyn was consecrated bishop. Wesleyan native evangelists from Fiji and Tonga carried Christianity in 1875 to the Bismarck Archipelago.
The wisdom of King George Tupou in refusing to alienate an acre of land, except upon lease, has resulted in Tonga having been the last native state in the Pacific to lose its independence.
Of Tonga and nearly midway between the New Hebrides and Tahiti, 1600 m.
The Tonga to the south, Hapai (which again is divided into three clusters) in the centre and Vavau to the north.
Within the limits of the area under notice, his first voyage (1769) included visits to Tahiti and the Society group generally, to New Zealand and to the east coast of Australia, his second (1773-1774) to New Zealand, the Paumotu Archipelago, the Society Islands, Tonga and subsequently Easter Island, the Marquesas and the New Hebrides; and his third (1777-1778) to Tonga, the Cook or Norway group, and the Hawaiian Islands, of which, even if they were previously known to the Spaniards, he may be called the discoverer, and where he was subsequently killed.
There are five churches in Tonga - the Free Wesleyans, embracing the great majority of the inhabitants, Wesleyans, Roman Catholics, and Seventh Day Adventists.