Easternmost of the Tuvalu islands, Nukulaelae with an estimated population of 410 was the first island to accept Christianity. That conversion happened after a lost Cook Island canoeist washed ashore in 1861. A few years later, less scrupulous visitors (the Peruvian blackbirders) kidnapped many of the islanders by pretending to invite them aboard their three vessels for religious services. They then carried them off to supposedly work in the Peruvian mines. Only two men who jumped overboard managed to escape. Today, with rising sea levels, Nukulaelae is threatened by salt water seeping to the taro swamps.
Nukulaelae is 105 kilometres northwest of Funafuti.
(For further information about Nukulaelae, please click on Myths and Legends and Tuvaluan Genealogy on the Menu to the left).
Map of Nukulaelae