Sites & cities that bear the name of Mata Utu

Mata Utu

Today in : Wallis and Futuna
First trace of activity : ca. 10th century C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Matāʻutu

Description : Mata Utu (French pronunciation: ​; ʻUvean: Matāʻutu) is the capital of Wallis and Futuna, an overseas collectivity of France. It is located on the island of Uvéa (ʻUvea), in the district of Hahake, of which it is also the capital. It is one of two ports in Wallis and Futuna, the other being at Leava on Futuna. Hihifo Airport, the main airport accessing the island and city, is 5.6 kilometres (3.5 mi) to the northwest. Its population was 1,029 in 2018, up from 815 in 1998. The most prominent landmarks in the town are the Matâ'Utu Cathedral, the palace next to it and backdrop of the Mt. Lulu Fakahega where there is an old chapel. In medieval times, Tuʻi Tonga invaders waged war against the islanders and took control. They installed their first chief and called him the Uveas which became ruling dynasty of the two islands; they are based at Mata-Utu even today. The fortifications which were built by the Tongans at that time have been unearthed at nearby Talierumu and Malama Tagata, during recent archaeological excavations of the area. Catholic missionaries who came to the island in 1837 ensured that the entire population of the islands was converted to Christianity in a short period of 5 years. During this period, the missionaries not only protected the islanders from the highhandedness of the Europeans but also ensured that a number of churches were built not only at Mata-Utu but also at Mu’a and Vaitupu islands. When the Mata-Utu was developed into a town from a small native village by the French who built most of Wallis and Futuna's major facilities here. Historically, pigs, poultry, yams, bananas, and coconut were available to arriving boats. During World War II, the Free French sloop Chevreuil landed a detachment of French Marines at Mata-Utu. A small battle took place here after which they captured Vichy French dissidents and took the island's radio communication centre. Francis Fox Parry of the 1st Battalion of the 11th Marines also landed here.

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