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He arrived at the time of the i Tonga (the islands' paramount chief) and so received an invitation to the festivities.According to the writer William Mariner, the chiefs wanted to kill Cook during the gathering but could not agree on a plan.Not much is known before European contact because of the lack of a writing system, but oral history has survived and been recorded after the arrival of the Europeans.By the 12th century, Tongans and the Tongan paramount chief, the Tuʻi Tonga, had a reputation across the central Pacific—from Niue, Samoa, Rotuma, Wallis & Futuna, New Caledonia to Tikopia—leading some historians to speak of a Tuʻi Tonga Empire.In the 15th century and again in the 17th, civil war erupted.


The name of Tonga is cognate to the Hawaiian region of Kona.

In Malay, the name of "Tonga" is also cognate to the word "Tenggara" (Southeastern).


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