04 Jun 2017
In 1862 he took two more extraordinary steps. Not only did he create a parliamentary system of government, he also abolished the system of semi-serfdom that had previously existed and established an entirely alien system of land tenure whereby every Tongan male, upon reaching the age of 16, was entitled to rent for life at a nominal fee a bush land (api) of 8.25 acres, plus a villange allotment of about three-eights of an acre for his home.
For these and more sweeping changes, the first modern king in Tonga’s national hero. The anniversary of the Tupou’s coronation in 1875 in celebrated in December but June 4 is the Emancipation Day. It remember both the anniversary of the abolishment of serfdom in 1862 and the end of Tonga’s status as a British protectorate over a century late.