WALLIS & FUTUNA
(Territoire de Wallis et Futuna, Uvea mo Futuna, Wallis et Futuna, Wallis and Futuna Islands)
- Location: Southwestern Pacific
- Capital: Mata’utu
- Language(s): Wallisian, Futunan, French
- Population: 16,897
- Total Area: 274 sq km
- Currency: CFP Franc
- Curious Alcohol Fact: There is a local alcoholic drink made from the mashed roots of the kava plant.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: Not available
- Most Popular Drink(s): Tea, fruit juice, kava, coconut juice
As the name implies, Territoire de Wallis et Futuna is an overseas territory of France and is located in the western part of Polynesia in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. I have observed that the United Kingdom, France and the United States have numerous overseas territories and dependencies in the various oceans of the world. Wallis and Futuna is surrounded by other island nations such as Tonga, Samoa (not American Samoa), Tuvalu, Tokelau, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. The territory is made up of two major island groups. One is the WallisIsland (also referred to as Uvea by the indigenous islanders) while the other contains Futuna and Alofi islands. The latter group is also called the Futuna Islands, Iles De Futuna or Iles De Horne. The islands (including Uvea) are volcanic in nature. It is important to state that the island of Uvea is not the same as the island of Ouvea close to New Caledonia, which also happens to be an overseas territory of France in the Oceania region.
From what I was able to learn about the archipelago, a vast majority of the islanders are Polynesians although there is a handful of people with European (particularly French) ancestry. However, you will find it amazing that the languages on the various islands are somewhat different. The island nation of Tonga is located to the southeast of the territory and the islanders have a lot in common with the Tongans, especially when it comes to culture and tradition. Being a territory administered by France, the official language is French and there are other indigenous languages spoken on the islands. In terms of religion, almost all the islanders are adherents of the Roman Catholic Church. A large number of the residents of Wallis & Futuna are into farming (especially subsistence agriculture), fishing and production of handmade bags, shoes and fans. Tourism is also another important industry for the islanders.
Eating in Wallis & Futuna
I have always known that if you want to eat the foods that are served in Paradise, you should fly to any of the islands in the Pacific. During my stay in Wallis and Futuna, I enjoyed heavenly dishes. Many of the dishes made by the Wallisians and Futunans are prepared using tubers (yams, taro and sweet potatoes), chicken and pork. Just like I noticed in some of the other island nations, food is prepared using a traditional earthen oven called the umu. For those in love with fruits and vegetables, you will find the islands of Wallis and Futuna enticing. Oranges, coconuts, bananas and pineapples are cultivated all over the islands.
Widely consumed in various parts of the islands is coconut juice and if you try this with fried chicken, you will see that the Pacific region is the place to be. There is a local beer called kava and is made from plant roots. Fruit juices and tea are also taken regularly.
Sports in Wallis & Futuna
Talking of sports one these islands, the most popular activities are football and rugby. If you are also a lover of water-based sports like surfing and swimming, this is surely the right destination for you. Local games and cultural dances are also regularly organized.
Interesting Things About Wallis & Futuna
- The islands can be described as a small ‘France’ outside France.
- The head of the islands is the French President!
- There is a local war dance on the islands that you will really enjoy watching –or even participating.
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).
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