Wallis and Futuna Territory Day – July 29, 2023

Wallis and Futuna Territory Day is observed every July 29 in the Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands. The day commemorates the islands becoming a French Overseas Territory on this day in 1961. Wallis and Futuna, located in the South Pacific, is a French island collectivity. To the northwest, it is Tuvalu, and to the southwest is Fiji. It also has Tokelau to the northeast, Tonga to the southeast, and Samoa to its east. These islands have been a French protectorate since the end of the 19th century. This day is one of the biggest public holidays on the French Pacific Islands of Wallis and Futuna.

History of Wallis and Futuna Territory Day

Wallis and Futuna Islands became a French Overseas Territory in 1961, and Territory Day is a festivity that celebrates that fact. This holiday is celebrated yearly in the Wallis and Futuna Islands Territory. Fiji and Samoa, the two island groups in the South Pacific, were originally settled by Polynesians, and it was quite a while before Europeans made contact with them. These islands were encountered by Europeans in 1616 when Dutch navigators passed by during the circumnavigation of the world. The British explorer Samuel Wallis, who sailed through in 1767, gave the Wallis Islands their name.

The islands became a French protectorate at the end of the 19th century. It was in 1917 that France annexed them. Until the early 1960s, it remained a French colony under New Caledonia’s authority. In 1959, the island’s inhabitants voted to become a French overseas territory. On July 29, 1961, they became one, and Territory Day has been celebrated ever since.

France and the Territory are closely related, and they support each other. In 1998 a typhoon (tropical cyclone) destroyed most of the cultivated crops on Uvea, including the island’s banana plantations, and a grant from France aided the recovery. Moreover, the two governments concluded a bilateral agreement in 2003 that redefined their relations under the Nouméa Accord, including provisions for regular discussions regarding issues affecting the expatriates.

Wallis and Futuna Territory Day timeline

1916
Europeans Encounter the Islands

Dutch explorers circumnavigating the globe encounter these islands.

1917
France Annexes the Islands

The islands become French colonies under the authority of New Caledonia.

1959
Voting Takes Place

The inhabitants of the islands vote to become French overseas territory.

1961
The Islands Become French Overseas Territory

The islands become a French overseas territory, and the island's inhabitants celebrate Wallis and Futuna Territory Day.

Wallis and Futuna Territory Day FAQs

What is the official language of the Islands?

The official language of the islands is French.

What type of government do Wallis and Futuna have?

A multi-party system and representative parliamentary democracy are the forms of administration, with the President of the Territorial Assembly serving as the head of state.

What is the capital city of Wallis and Futuna?

The capital city of Wallis and Futuna is Mata Utu city.

How to Observe Wallis and Futuna Territory Day

  1. Attend a festival

    Festivals and parades mark the celebrations of this holiday in the islands. Traditional dancing and singing are typical ways of celebrating this day.

  2. Eat traditional food

    People celebrate this day with lots of traditional food. They enjoy smoked meats such as ham and other staples like bananas, sweet potatoes, and seafood.

  3. Take the day off

    This day is a public holiday in the Islands, so shops, supermarkets, schools, and banks are closed. You can take the opportunity to relax and spend time with your family and friends.

5 Facts About Wallis And Futuna

  1. A volcanic island

    Uvea, one of the Islands, is a volcanic island surrounded by a barrier reef with 20 uninhabited islets.

  2. Crops

    Coconuts, breadfruit, bananas, taro, cassava, yams, mangoes, and pineapples are the primary subsistence crops in the islands.

  3. People

    The native inhabitants are Polynesians; however, the languages and populations of Uvea and Futuna islands differ.

  4. Villages

    Villages are dispersed on the islands, mainly on the coast, and no actual urban areas exist.

  5. Revenues

    Revenues come from the French Government subsidies, import taxes, licensing of fishing rights to Japanese and South Korean companies, and remittances from expatriate workers in New Caledonia.

Why Wallis and Futuna Territory Day is Important

  1. Wallis and Futuna are a paradise

    These islands are a natural paradise on earth, and there are a lot of places full of nature to go and visit. With beautiful beaches, they are one of the most chosen places by tourists.

  2. Territory Day is a synonym for celebration

    Natives of the Islands celebrate this day every year. The festival is full of music, dance, traditional food, and happiness.

  3. It enhances the relationship between the Islands and France

    These two nations have a close relationship with one another. France's support is essential because the Islands are a developing nation.

Wallis and Futuna Territory Day dates

YearDateDay
2023July 29Saturday
2024July 29Monday
2025July 29Tuesday
2026July 29Wednesday
2027July 29Thursday

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