Fiji Facts

Fiji Facts and History


The residents call the islands “Viti” and they call themselves “Kai Viti”. The name Fiji (English Fiji) owe the islands to the population of Tonga. The island state has been a republic since 1987. The population of Fiji is a mix of Polynesians and Melanesians. The original population of Fiji before the Indians came to the country was a dark race like the Melanesians, but due to the intermingling with the Polynesians, they were of larger stature. The Europeans brought Indian workers to the sugar cane plantations, who took their culture and cuisine with them to Fiji. Both have survived to this day.

The 180th degree of longitude runs through the middle of the archipelago. Since the international date line in this area is shifted to the east, the islands all share a common date. Fiji is west of the date line.

Fiji covers an area of around 1.3 million km². Of this, however, only 18,270 km² is land, the rest is ocean.

A total of 83% of the land area belongs to the indigenous population, who do not sell the land but only grant usage rights for a certain period of time.

Fiji used to be known for its cannibalism, which was practiced on the islands until the end of the 19th century. In 2004, for example, the residents of Fiji officially apologized for the fact that the villagers in the interior of an island had eaten a missionary at the above time.

After 1987 and 2000, Fiji was excluded from the “Commonwealth of Nations” for the third time in early September 2009. The reason was that Admiral Frank Bainimarama, who had pushed himself into the highest government office in 2006, refused to allow free elections until October 2010.

Elections were held in 2014 – after which the suspensions in the international organizations were lifted.

During the years of military rule, Australia and New Zealand also stopped their development aid.

Name of the country Republic of Fiji Islands (since 1987)
Form of government Parliamentary republic
Geographical location In the South Pacific, north of New Zealand and east of Australia, around 12 ° to 21 ° south latitude and 177 ° to 175 ° east longitude
National anthem Meda Dau Doka or God Bless Fiji
Population approx. 880,000 (Credit: Countryaah: Fiji Population)
Ethnicities approx. 57% Fijians, a mixture of Melanesians and Polynesians,37% Indians,

6% Europeans, other Pacific ethnic groups and overseas Chinese

Religions The main religion is Christianity with 52% (37% Methodists and 9% Catholics).There are also about 38% Hindus, 8% Muslims and 2% people of other religions.
Languages English, Fiji and Hindustani
Capital Suva, with around 87,000 residents
Surface 18. 270 km²
Highest mountain Tomanivi, with a height of 1,324 m
Longest river Rewa River
Largest lake in area Lake Tagimaucia on Taveuni Isla
International license plate FJI
Currency Fijian dollars
Difference to CET +11 h
International phone code +679
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .fj

Fiji: history

History until about the arrival of the Europeans

It is believed that the Lapita people (Polynesians) were around 2,000 BC. Were the first to colonize the Fiji Islands – until the Melanesians arrived. The Lapita people were good sailors and craftsmen. They brought the knowledge of Lapita pottery with them to Fiji. On the basis of finds from this Lapita pottery, many settlements can be dated today and settlement movements in the South Seas can be reconstructed.

According to Abbreviationfinder website, the Melanesians were a dark-skinned breed with heavily curled hair. When they arrived on the islands, they gradually gained the upper hand, displacing the Lapita people to the east side of the islands and later as far as Tonga.

However, Fijian culture remained a mixture of both groups. When the Europeans arrived, a feudal culture prevailed, a tyrannical kingdom that went back to the customs of the Polynesians. In Polynesian society, the status of a person or group is inherited as is that of a king. In the Melanesian society, on the other hand, the individual had to and must acquire his position in society through his own work. Contact with Tonga was cultivated in the form of trade and marriage. So was z. B. Fijian sandalwood is very popular in Tonga for building canoes. Women from Tonga, who were too high in the hierarchy and could thus become a problem, were often married to Fiji or Samoa. Around 500 BC In BC, agriculture was increasingly carried out, with the result that the population grew rapidly. The individual tribes were hostile, which led to the fact that fortified villages were created and cannibalism arose.


It was believed in an afterlife that would take place on an island in the west, the place from where the ancestors left. Omens, oracles and spells were also an integral part of the culture. The priests were of high rank and held an important position in society.

In Fiji, polygamy was practiced for both personal and political reasons.

Temples, chieftains’ houses and war canoes bear witness to the craftsmanship of the population.

Before the arrival of the Europeans, no metal tools were known, only stone tools.

Tanoa’s house under construction was 40 meters long and 13 meters wide. Trees with a diameter of up to 2 m were felled to produce the supports. The warships could take on large proportions for the region, such as B. the ship Ra Marama, which was 32 m long and 5 m wide and was built over a period of seven years.

After the arrival of the Europeans

The first European to see the islands in 1643 was the Dutch navigator Abel Janszoon Tasman (1603-1659); James Cook (1728-1779) sighted the islands in 1774; for fear of the warlike and savage tribes who cultivated cannibalism, however, he did not go ashore.

Cannibalism and the surrounding reefs kept whalers and traders away from the islands for a long time.

Captain William Bligh (1754-1817), known as the Captain of the Bounty, set sail on the island in 1789 and 1792. The first missionaries came to the islands around 1835.

The islands were first explored by the Americans in 1840. At that time there were terrible tribal feuds in Fiji.

The Christian religion eventually won the battle of Kaba, which was supported by the king of Tonga. Cakobau, who converted to Christianity in 1854, rose to become chief chief. With Cakobau, the rest of the population soon converted to Christianity. In 1872, as king of the island, Cakobau asked the German Empire for protection. However, Bismarck refused to help.

The islands were given to the British Crown in 1874. Since 1879 the British brought Indians to the islands as plantation workers.

20th century until today

The Indians were given the right to vote in 1929.

In 1968 the University of the South Pacific in Fiji was inaugurated. Two years later, in 1970, the island gained independence. After several coup attempts and unrest, the republic was finally proclaimed in 1987. The 1999 general election brought Mahendra Chaudhry to power as Fiji’s first Prime Minister of Indian origin.

On May 19, 2000, he and his cabinet were arrested during a coup. After its liberation, the “Great Council of Chiefs” declared an interim government.

Prime Minister Orase was elected in 2001. Although the election was seen as correct by outsiders, the opposition challenged its legitimacy.

On June 18, 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that the Orase government was entitled to a number of cabinet seats based on their proportion of the vote in the election.

After 1987 and 2000, Fiji was excluded from the “Commonwealth of Nations” for the third time in early September 2009. The reason was that Admiral Frank Bainimarama, who had pushed himself into the highest government office in 2006, refused to allow free elections until October 2010. But in 2016 there were free elections and the sanctions imposed were lifted.

Fiji Facts