The capital of Tonga, which is the only kingdom in the South Pacific is Nuku'alofa. During the 17th century in the Age of Discovery, Tonga was visited by a number of European explorers and missionaries. The people of Tonga extended a warm welcome to them, and the country became known as the "friendly islands." Today, almost all people in Tonga are Christians. In the 19th century, even though the islands of the South Pacific were colonized by the Great Powers of Europe, Tonga manage to retain its independence. Nuku'alofa means "abode of love" in Tongan and is home to approximately 35,000 people.