Although they were discovered by the Dutch and the British in the 17th and 18th centuries, it was the French who were the first Europeans to settle in the territory, with the arrival of French missionaries in 1837, who converted the population to Catholicism.
On April 5, 1842, they asked for the protection of France after the rebellion of a part of the local population. On April 5, 1887, the queen of Uvea (on the island of Wallis) signed a treaty officially establishing a French protectorate. The kings of Sigave and Alo on the islands of Futuna and Alofi also signed a treaty establishing French protectorate on February 16, 1888. The islands were put under the authority of the French colony of New Caledonia.
The population of Alofi was reportedly eaten by the cannibal people of Futuna in one single raid in the 19th century.