A centralized state was constructed in Tonga by a warrior chief of a maximal lineage. From 1845, through war, title succession, and adroit patronage of Wesleyan missionary converts, Taufa'ahau emerged in the manner of Kamehameha in Hawai'i as a territorial paramount by descent and achievement as King George Tupou I. New and old institutions were combined in the Tongan Constitution of 1875; and for the first time secular and religious titles were held by one high chief. His successors warded off a series of interventions by Fiji's governors, but the Colonial Office acknowledged Tonga's autonomy as a sovereign state from 1911. Since then, foreign settlement and foreign over-rule have been kept at bay by a patrimonial state that has managed to satisfy its nobility and office-holders and retain the loyalty of most Tongans.
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