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Tonga

"Tonga" is a descriptor in the National Library of Medicine's controlled vocabulary thesaurus, MeSH (Medical Subject Headings). Descriptors are arranged in a hierarchical structure, which enables searching at various levels of specificity.

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An archipelago in Polynesia in the southwest Pacific Ocean, comprising about 150 islands. It is a kingdom whose capital is Nukualofa. It was discovered by the Dutch in 1616, visited by Tasman in 1643, and by Captain Cook in 1773 and 1777. The modern kingdom was established during the reign of King George Tupou I, 1845-93. It became a British protectorate in 1900 and gained independence in 1970. The name Tonga may be of local origin, meaning either island or holy. Its other name, Friendly Islands, was given by Captain Cook from the welcome given him by the natives. (From Webster's New Geographical Dictionary, 1988, p1219 & Room, Brewer's Dictionary of Names, 1992, p549)


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