Futuna - Orientation

Identification. Futuna and its neighboring island of Alofi (or Tua) are politically joined to Wallis Island under French administration as overseas territories. They were named the "Hoorn [or Horn] Islands" after the birthplace in Holland of one of the first European explorers to sight the islands. This Futuna must not be confused with West Futuna, east of Tanna in Vanuatu.

Location. Futuna is located 240 kilometers northeast of Vanua Levu (in Fiji), and 200 kilometers southwest of Wallis at 14° S, 178° W. Futuna and Alofi are both volcanic islands with steep mountainous interiors rising to the highest point of 850 meters. There are many streams and a plentiful supply of fresh water. Futuna is subject to cyclones.

Demography. In 1983 the population on the island of 44 square kilometers of land was 4,324, and it was growing at about 4 percent per year. In addition, approximately 4,000 Futunans were living in New Caledonia. About 50 French people are resident as administrators, teachers, and doctors.

Linguistic Affiliation. East Futuna is an Austronesian language, included in the Nuclear Polynesian Subgroup of the Polynesian Group. It is mutually understandable with Wallisian but distinct from West Futunan, and it has some close cognates with Samoan. French is now spoken by some of the younger Futunans, particularly those living in New Caledonia.

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