THE FIRST EUROPEAN CONTACT
In 1616, Dutch navigators; Wilhelm Schouten and Jacob Le Maire discovered Niuas, a small group of islands in the most northern part of the Tongan archipelago. The only contact they received at the time was due to a small altercation with a canoe. In 1643, another Dutch explorer; Abel Tasman visited ‘Ata’, ‘Eua and the largest island; Tongaputa. This time Tasman’s contact with the locals was much more interactive when his fleet stopped off for fresh water, food and replenishments, and to trade with the local community.
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
In 1773, British Explorer Captain James Cook first visited the southern islands of Tonga; Tongapatu and ‘ Eua. He then returned in 1777 and spent two months exploring each island. As he reached the village of Ha’apai, a lavish feast was presented to Cook and his men. Impressed by their warm hospitality, and unbeknown of their foiled plans to raid his boat and kill his men he dubbed the Kingdom of Tonga ‘ the friendly islands’ before venturing on his with his journey. His complementary name for the islands still remain to this day.