Forgotten World (210): Tuvalu

Tuvalu is a group of nine tiny islands in the South Pacific which won independence from the United Kingdom in 1978. Five of the islands are coral atolls, the other four consist of land rising from the sea bed. All are low-lying, with no point on Tuvalu being higher than 4.5 metres above sea level. Local politicians have campaigned against global warming, arguing that climate change could see the islands swamped by rising sea levels.

In population terms, Tuvalu is the second smallest nation on earth with just 11,000 citizens (only the Vatican City is smaller). It depends on foreign aid, the income from the sale of tuna fishing licences, and the interest from a trust fund set up in 1987. Tuvalu has shown ingenuity by exploiting another source of income through selling its Internet suffix – .tv – to a Californian company for several million dollars a year in continuing revenue.


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