Tuvalu was first settled by Samoans, Tongans, and other Pacific islanders about 700 years ago. The Spanish were the first Europeans to sight Tuvalu in the 16th Century and in the 19th Century, European whalers, traders, and missionaries settled Tuvalu. Blackbirders made sporadic visits. The British colonised the Gilbert and Ellice Islands in 1892 which were split into independent Polynesian nations in the mid-1970s comprising Kiribati (Gilbert Islands) and Tuvalu (Ellice Islands).
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