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1400: The first settlers are Samoans or Tongans
1818-25: Whalers and traders visit the islands. Some settle there.
1826: The islands are mapped and named after a British Member of Parliament named Edward Ellice, who owned the ship that landed on Funafuti in 1819.
1850s: Jack O’Brien, of Australian-Irish descent, comes to Funafuti and marries Sarai, the daughter of the King of Funafuti. This royal family still bears the O’Brien name.
1860: Britain annexes the islands to protect them from Peruvian slave traders, who have kidnapped 400 Tuvaluans.
1865: The London Missionary Society installs Samoan pastors on various islands.
1892: The islands form part of a protectorate of Britain, known as the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. Traders from American, British, French, and German trading companies settle and leave their names: Duffy (Nanumea), Buckland (Niutao, Nitz (Vaitapu), O’Brien (Funafuti), Restieaux, Fenisot (Nukufetau), and Kleis (Nui).
1915: Britain annexes them as the Gilbert and Ellice Island Colony.
1975: The Ellice Islands break away from the Gilbert Islands and become known as Tuvalu. The Tuvaluans are more Polynesian while the I-Kiribati of the Gilbert Islands are more Micronesian in ethnicity and culture.
1978: The islands become independent with the name Tuvalu.
1979: The U.S.A. gives Tuvalu four islands that have been U.S. territory.
2000: Tuvalu joins the United Nations.