Category:Tuvalu

From Stamps of the World

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Map of Tuvalu, located in the South Pacific

Tuvalu, pronounced "too-VAH-loo", is an independent constitutional monarchy in the southwest Pacific Ocean between latitudes 5 degrees and 11 degrees south and longitudes 176 degrees and 180 degrees east. Formerly known as the Ellice Islands, they separated from the Gilbert Islands after a referendum in 1975, and achieved independence from Great Britain on October 1, 1978. The population of 11,636 (est 2005) live on Tuvalu's nine atolls, which have a total land area of 10 square miles, or 27 square kilometres. This ranks Tuvalu as the fourth smallest country in the world, in terms of land area.

The nine islands, from north to south, are:

  • Nanumea
  • Niutao
  • Nanumaga (formerly spelled Nanumanga)
  • Nui
  • Vaitupu
  • Nukufetau
  • Funafuti
  • Nukulaelae
  • Niulakita

The traditional country name, Te Atu Tuvalu translates to "eight islands standing together", valu being the Tuvaluan word for eight. This refers to the eight inhabited islands of Tuvalu. The ninth island, tiny Niulakita, was inhabited only since the 1950's, and was not part of "ancient" Tuvalu. It is now inhabited by natives of Niutao.

Funafuti, pronounced "foo-NAH-footi", is the capital of Tuvalu. Most administration offices are all located in Vaiaku Village on Fogafale Islet (formerly spelled Fongafale), Funafuti atoll.

The government of Tuvalu established their own postal administration on January 1, 1976, the day that full administration of the colony was transferred from Tarawa, the capital of the old Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony. On this day, a set of provisional overprinted definitive stamps and a commemorative set of three stamps were placed on sale. These were the first stamps inscribed for specific use in the post offices of Tuvalu. Stamps of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands remained valid for postage until the end of 1976.