Tonga. Tonga’s King George Tupou V died March 18 at a Hong Kong hospital, 63 years old. At the funeral a week later, the king’s coffin was carried from the palace to the royal burial ground by over 1,000 coffin carriers dressed in black shirts and traditional bastards. The streets were bordered by people from the public. Some foreign political leaders also attended the funeral. A grief period of three months was announced. The direct cause of death was not announced, but the king had been ill before and had removed a kidney, among other things.
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George Tupou V was succeeded by his little brother, Crown Prince Tupouto’a Lavaka, who was given the royal name Tupou VI. The new king, who was 52 when he took office, had held various ministerial posts previously, including as prime minister. Tupou VIwas described as more conservative than his big brother, but he was still expected to continue the democratization process Tupou V had begun. Tupou V had been king since 2006, when he inherited the throne of his father. By the end of the 1990s, he had begun a process from absolute monarchy to increased democracy. In 2010, the Tongans had to elect their parliamentarians for the first time, the fold meant the end of 165 years of feudal rule. The king had also made himself known for his eccentric habits: he liked military uniforms, often wore monocles and drove around in a black London taxi.
According to countryaah, the population of Tonga in 2012 was 100,670, ranking number 199 in the world. The population growth rate was -0.620% yearly, and the population density was 139.9736 people per km2.