A tiny country that’s about to disappear
When a place gets “the most” status, it immediately creates intrigue around itself and begins to actively lure tourists. In this sense, Tuvalu is the tiniest island country, one of the poorest countries, and the most unknown to the rest of the world. And to sum up, in the case of global warming, it will be the first to hide underwater.
Ellis Island or Tuvalu
Spanish sailor Álvaro de Mendaña de Neyra, who accidentally passed by, gave the name to these scraps of land 450 years ago. After this remarkable event, the archipelago was forgotten until the nineteenth century, until the next accidental vessel, now Canadian. Its captain named the place in his way, Ellis Island, after the owner of the ship.
Whalers and merchant ships could not get close to the archipelago because of the lack of convenient berths, although the islands had something to offer visitors. The main treasure was and still is coconut palms, which Australia has been exporting from the islands on a massive scale for many years. Now the copra is the largest export item in Tuvalu, reaching 200-300 tons per year.
In total, the lagoon islands of Tuvalu consist of 26 kilometers of coral atolls surrounded by 500 kilometers of water. The sea provides the country with a second income source, fish, which is both a national treasure and an essential ingredient in any local meal. Well, there’s nothing else.
Everything necessary for survival is coming from New Zealand and Australia. One of the poorest countries in the world has no industry, no minerals, no army, not even drinking water. Locals use rainwater, which they collect in barrels and let in for cooking, washing, and drinking.
The only city in Tuvalu is called Funafuti, and there are a few streets buried in the green. People live in houses with doors always open. There’s still nothing to steal from the wretched houses. The whole town can be reached on foot in twenty minutes, watching the slow, measured life of the islanders.
There is no tourism in Tuvalu as such. Travel agencies voice the figure of 700 tourists a year, but even it seems overstated. Rare visitors are looking for the opportunity to see a country that may not exist tomorrow.
The size of a country does not always guarantee prosperity, as can be seen from our list of the smallest countries.