First published in 1974, Church and State in Tonga is a classic study of the formative period of modern Tongan history. The years covered are from the re-establishment of the Wesleyan Methodist mission in the 1820s until the promulgation of the Tongan constitution in 1875. The missionaries assumed the role of political advisors, but by the 1850s the missionary monopoly was undermined and what author Sione Latukefu calls a "marriage of convenience" and an "alliance" began. The king became selective in the advice he accepted and took his own initiatives. Much of the book deals with the development of kingship and the emergence of written codes of law and the constitution. The book is dedicated to Queen Salote Tupou III who passed the traditions of the royal family to Latukefu, determined to impart her wealth of knowledge of the Tongan traditional past. Church and State in Tonga was the first substantial study by a Tongan of the history of the Tongan monarchy and government, a rich documentary study reinforced by knowledge of local language, customs, and traditions.
About the Author
Sione Latukefu (1927-1995) was a Tongan historian. He founded the Tongan History Association to encourage studies of Tongan history and was instrumental in establishing the Tonga Research Society.
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