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    Tuvalu (Ellice Islands)  
Tuvalu is composed of nine coral atolls spanning 360 miles of Polynesia surrounded by the South Pacific Ocean. Prewar and during World War II, part of the former Gilbert and Ellice Island Group. Also known as the Ellice Islands.

Wartime History
The Japanese hoped to occupy Tuvalu from Kiribati, but losses at Midway delayed them, enabling American forces to reach the atoll first. American forces arrived on October 2, 1942. Secrecy was so well maintained that the Japanese did not learn of the occupation of Funafuti until March 1943 when they flew over the area.

Quickly, the Americans developed the area into an important Navy anchorage and important airfields with over 6,000 American personnel at its height in 1943. By the middle of 1944, as the war moved further to the north, American forces began withdrawing. By the end of the war, nearly all the American presence had departed.

The government of Tuvalu was established in January, 1976, ending its status as a colony and part of the Gilbert and Ellice Colony and gained independence in 1978.

Tuvalu (Ellice Islands)
Nanumea Atoll  located in the northwest of Tuvalu (Ellice Islands).
Funafuti Atoll (Funifuti) includes the national capital Funafuti.
Niutao Island  located in the northwest of Tuvalu (Ellice Islands).
Nukufetau Atoll  lagoon used by the US Navy as an anchorage includes Savave Island and Motulalo Island.
Nui Atoll  located in eastern Tuvalu includes 21 islets

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Last Updated
September 4, 2022


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