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Did you Know?
In Did You Know? the National Geographic magazine team shares extra information we gathered to expand your knowledge of our featured subjects.

Close ties to Great Britain are a Tongan royal family tradition going back almost two centuries. In 1831 Tongan leader Taufa‘ahau was baptized a Christian by English Methodist missionaries at a time when rival chiefs on the islands were competing for power. Missionaries taught Taufa‘ahau to read and advised him on European customs and politics. In 1834, a religious revival known as the Tongan Pentecost swept through the island groups of Ha‘apai and Vava‘u, sparking more conflicts among the chiefs. By 1845, Taufa‘ahau had united all the islands under his rule, and by 1875 Tonga had a written constitution, with a Declaration of Rights influenced by English law. Taufa‘ahau adopted the name King George Tupou I in honor of England’s King George III, beginning a custom still honored by his descendant, George Tupou V.

—Shelley Sperry