The Lapita were seafarers who lived around 3,000 years ago, exploring islands hundreds of miles apart. Tonga is made up of 169 islands, with 36 of them inhabited. Tongan is a Polynesian language closely connected to that spoken in Hawaii (an 18-hour flight away). The first Europeans visited in 1616 with a brief trading visit from a Dutch vessel. Sovereignty was never given to a foreign power, but it did have 'protected state' status from the United Kingdom from 1900 till 1970. It was only united as a Kingdom in 1845, and (with the help of a missionary) declared a Constitutional Monarchy in 1875 adopting the western royal style. It is the only Pacific nation to maintain its Monarchical government.