Tokelau is a non-self-governing colonial territory of New Zealand that comprises a group of three tropical coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean. The islands are occasionally referred to by Westerners by an older colonial name, The Union Islands. Until 1976, the official name was Tokelau Islands. Tokelau lies near ► Kiribati, ► Samoa, ► American Samoa, ► Tuvalu and the ► Cook Islands.
This section holds a short summary of the history of the area of present-day Tokelau, illustrated with maps, including historical maps of former countries and empires that included present-day Tokelau.
Before 1600 an independent state of Fakaofo is formed in the archipelago that is now Tokelau. Beside Fakaofo also Nukunonu and Atafu become later independent. The British explorer John Byron discovers the Tokelau Islands in 1765. When Peruvian slave traders target the islands, this leads in 1877 to a British protectorate of Tokelau. In 1916 Tokelau becomes as Union Group part of the British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. The islands come under New Zealand administration in 1926 and are incorporated into Western Samoa in 1948. In 1962 the Union Group becomes a separate New Zealand dependency and in 1976 the islands are renamed Tokelau.
Satellite map of Tokelau
Notes and references
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