Funafuti fo͞onäfo͞o´tē [key], capital and chief atoll of Tuvalu , S Pacific. It comprises 30 islets of a reef 13 mi (21 km) long, with a land area of c.1 sq mi (2.6 sq km). The islet of Fongafale is the most populous part of the atoll the center of government is there. The atoll was discovered in 1819 and became part of a British colony in 1915. An expedition led by Sir Edgeworth David in 1897 proved the Darwinian theory of atoll formation (see coral reefs ) by sinking a 1,100 ft (335 m) bore into the island.

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