Tuvalu, once known as the Ellice Islands, is a Pacific island nation. The population has roughly doubled in the past 30 years, but it still has one of the world's smallest populations, outnumbering only Vatican City and Nauru, and almost as comparatively small in area. The official languages are Tuvaluan and English. Government is set up as a parliamentary democracy under constitutional monarchy. A majority of residents belongs to the Protestant church Ekalesia Kilisiano Tuvalu, but incorporates ancestor-worshipping rituals into spiritual practices. The terrain includes reef islands and atolls. Overall the climate is tropical, and climate change and rising waters are a threat to Tuvalu, which is barely a few meters over sea level on average. Agriculture is at least viable for subsistence farming, and there is abundant sea life. Animal species include the common rhea, the bone fish, and the ginkgo-toothed beaked whale. Mainstays of the economy include the public sector, merchant ships, and fishing. Check out the uninhabited atolls of the Funafuti Marine Conservation Area. You can take a government supply ship out to Nanumea Atoll, where there are shipwrecks and a big church to see. There is beautiful beach and traditional village life at the remote Funafala Islet. Starchy fruits and vegetables like pulaka, taro, and breadfruit are a cornerstone of the diet. Typical vegetables include greens such as taro leaf. Seafood is abundant and popular. The cuisine overall is very simple. A common dish is palusami, also called samoa, which contains taro or breadfruit cooked inside taro leaves with coconut cream, lime juice, and various flavorings. Pork is mostly served at celebrations that involve dance performances and general merriment. For the sweet tooth, there is banana spread or a variety of coconut treats such as mousse, shakes, or ice creamÔÇöpretty much just fruit and good old sugar.