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- Our Country
- Fijian Culture & Tradition
- Population, Language & Religion
- National Symbols
- National Anthem
- Map of Fiji
- More ...
The Republic of the Fiji Islands is known for its lush vegetation. It is a tropical paradise made of approximately 330 tiny islands of which around 100 are inhibited. Located in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, Fiji is sited to the north of New Zealand and North West of Australia with a land mass of 18, 376 square kilometers.
Fiji covers about 1.3 million square kilometers of the South Pacific Ocean. Fiji's total land area is 18,333 square kilometers. There are two major islands - Viti Levu which is 10,429 square kilometers and Vanua Levu 5.556 square kilometers. Other main islands are Taveuni (470 sq km), Kadavu (411 sq km), Gau (140 sq km) and Koro (104 sq km). 87.9% of land is owned by indigenous Fijians while 3.9% is State land. Freehold land comprises 7.9% and Rotuman land is 0.3%.
The capital is Suva and it is one of the two cities in Fiji. The other city is Lautoka and both are located on the island of Viti Levu. The islands are surrounded by sandy beaches and reefs with mountains covering the centre of most of the islands.
Fiji is blessed with a tropical South Sea maritime climate without great extremes of heat or cold. The islands lie in area which is occasionally traversed by tropical cyclones, and mostly confined between the months of November to April every year. On the average some ten to twelve cyclones per decade affect some parts of Fiji, and two to three cyclones can be very severe. At all seasons the predominant winds over Fiji are the Trade Winds from the east to south - east. On the western and eastern sides of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu however, day time breezes blow in across the coast.
In general, the winds over Fiji are light or moderate, the most persistent being in the period July - December. Temperatures average 22°Celsius (72 °F) for the cooler months (May to October) while (November to April) temperatures are higher with heavy downpours. Although rainfall is highly variable, the average rainfall increases steadily inland from coastal areas. It usually increases between December - April, especially over the larger islands, but in May - October it is often deficient, particularly in the dry zone on the western and northern sides of the main islands.
Fijian Culture & Tradition
Fiji was first settled about three and a half thousand years ago. The original inhabitants are now called "Lapita people" after a distinctive type of fine pottery they produced, remnants of which have been found in practically all the islands of the Pacific, east of New Guinea, though not in eastern Polynesia. Linguistic evidence suggests that they came from northern or central Vanuatu, or possibly the eastern Solomons.
Before long they had moved further on, colonizing Rotuma to the north, and Tonga and Samoa to the east. From there, vast distances were crossed to complete the settlement of the Pacific to Hawaii in the north, Rapanui (Easter Island) in the east and Aotearoa (New Zealand) in the South.
Unlike the islands of Polynesia which showed a continuous steadily evolving culture from initial occupation, Fiji appears to have undergone at least two periods of rapid culture change in prehistorically times.This may have been due to the arrival of fresh waves of immigrants, presumably from the west. Pre-historians have noted that a massive 12th century volcanic eruption in southern Vanuatu coincides with the disappearance there of a certain pottery style, and its sudden emergence in Fiji.
It is hardly surprising then, that the Fijian culture is an intricate network and that generalizations are fraught with danger. Although the legendary king of Bau, Naulivou, and his successors had control over a large area of eastern Fiji, at no time before colonialization was Fiji a political unity. Nevertheless, Fiji does exhibit certain traits that set it apart from its neighbors, and it is this that defines a distinctive Fijian culture.
Fiji is divided into 14 provinces, which are themselves composed of smaller administrative units, the basic one of which is the village (koro). At the head of a village is the turaga-ni-koro, elected or appointed by the villagers. Several koro forms a district (tikina) and several tikina make up a province or yasana. Each province is governed by a council with an executive head (Roko Tui) whose appointment has to be approved by the Fijian Affairs Board, which must also approve all rates and by-laws applied, by the provincial council. The Fijian Affairs Board is regarded as the guardian of the Fijian administrative system and many other aspects of Fijian custom.
Visitors are often welcomed at resorts and hotels with a ‘meke’, a dance performance that enacts local stories and legends. While performances for tourists may seem staged, the meke is an ongoing tradition. The arrangement of the group and every subtle movement has significance. Important guests and onlookers are honored with the best seating positions.
In the past, Fijian meke were accompanied by chanting by a chorus or by ‘spiritually possessed seers’, and usually rhythmic clapping, the thumping and stamping of bamboo clacking sticks, the beating of slit drums and dancing. They were held purely for entertainment, for welcoming visitors, or on important religious and social occasions; births, deaths, marriages, and property exchanges between villages. Men, women and children participated in meke. Men performed club and spear dances and the women performed fan dances.
Yaqona, otherwise known as kava, is an infusion prepared from the root of Piper methysticum, a type of pepper plant. It is extremely important in Fijian culture - in the time of the 'old religion' it was used ceremonially by chiefs and priests only. Today, yaqona is part of daily life, not only in villages but across the different races and in urban areas. 'Having grog’ is used for welcoming and bonding with visitors, for storytelling sessions or merely for passing time.
There are certain protocols to be followed at a kava ceremony and in some remote villages, it is still a semi religious experience. Sit cross-legged, facing the chief and the tanoa, or large wooden bowl. Women usually sit behind the men and won't get offered the first drink unless they are the guest of honour. Never walk across the circle of participants, turn your back to the tanoa or step over the cord that leads from the tanoa to a white cowry (it represents a link with the spirits).
The drink is prepared in the tanoa. The dried and powdered root, wrapped in a piece of cloth, is mixed with water and the resulting concoction looks (and tastes) like muddy water. You will then be offered a drink from a bilo (half a coconut shell). Clap once, accept the bilo and say 'bula' (meaning 'cheers', or literally, 'life'), before drinking it all in one go. Clap three times in gratification and try not to grimace. The drink will be shared until the tanoa is empty. You are not obligated to drink every bilo offered to you, but it is polite to drink at least the first.
Bark Cloth and Traditional Textiles
Masi, also known as tapa, is bark cloth with black and rust-colored printed designs. Masi played an important role in Fijian culture and its motifs had symbolic meaning and to a certain extent still do. It is used for special occasions - in 1996 the Tui Cakau wore masi ceremonial attire at his installation as paramount chief of the Cakaudrove region. Fijian masi is now mostly made for tourists and is used for postcards, wall hangings and other decorative items. Textile designers are now incorporating traditional masi motifs in their fabrics.
Mat and Basket Weaving
Most Fijian homes use woven pandanus-leaf mats for floor coverings, dining mats and as finer sleeping mats. They are much in demand as wedding presents and for baptisms, funerals and presentations to chiefs. Most village girls learn the craft, traditionally it was the hereditary role of the women of certain tribes. The pandanus leaves are cut and laid outdoors to cure, then stripped of the spiny edges and boiled and dried. The traditional method for blackening the leaves for contrasting patterns is to bury them in mud for days and then boil them with special leaves. The dried pandanus leaves, made flexible by scraping with shells, are split into strips of about 1 to 2cm.
The original people are called “Lapita people” after the characteristic type of a fine pottery they produced, remnants of which have been found in practically all the islands of the Pacific, east of New Guinea. They first populated the islands about 35 centuries ago. Since then, Fiji has been through quite a few settlement processes.
The estimated population of Fiji on December 31, 2004 stood at 840,201. Of the total 456,207 were Fijians, 320, 659 were Indians and 63,335 were others. For the last two officials Census there was a net increase of 57,280 persons. Fijian numbers had increased by 65,694 persons. Indian numbers registered a decrease of 0.3 per cent as a result of high international emigration, and lower rate of natural increase. The annual average growth rate between the Censuses was 0.8%.
Fiji has a relatively young population with about 53% or 413,100 persons below the age of 25 years. This percentage has declined from the 1986 figure of 58.7%. The economically active population in 1986 was 62% of the total population or 441,852 persons and in 1996 it was estimated at 67% or 523,428 persons. The number of people aged 60 years and over was estimated at 47,027 persons or 6% of the total projected population in 1996. This figure has risen from 4.9% or 35,395 in 1986. The dependency ratio in 1986 was 71 but declined to 70 in 1990 and 68 in 1996. This means that the percentage of people dependent on those who are working is decreasing.
Fiji is becoming increasingly urbanized as internal migration to towns and cities continue. Extension of urban boundaries has also contributed to this trend. By 1996, some 46 per cent of the population was living in urban areas, up from 39 per cent in 1986. Around 41 per cent of Fijians and Rotumans now live in urban areas. The urban population has grown at 2.6 per cent per year between 1986 and 1996 and the rural population has been shrinking by 0.5 per year. The Capital Suva is the most populated city with 167,975 persons followed by Lautoka with 43,274 and Nadi at 30,884. Apart from the indigenous Fijians, Fiji has accepted many other nationalities to its shores - Indians, Europeans, Chinese and other Pacific islanders.
English is the official language. However, Fijian and Hindi are also taught in schools as part of the school curriculum. Indigenous Fijians have their own dialects and you can tell which province one comes from, from their dialect. Indians, too have their own, and generally speak a distinctive Fiji-Hindi dialect. This is not the same as the one spoken in India.
A multiracial, multi-cultural nation, Fiji is represented by all the major religions of the world. This is quickly obvious to the visitor who will see Christian churches, Mosques, Sikh and Hindu temples in towns and the countryside. More than half of Fiji's population are Christians (52.9%), Hindus (38.1%), Muslim (7.8%), Sikhs (0.7%), others (0.5%).
Fiji's flag flew for the first time on Independence Day, October 10, 1970. It includes the red, white and blue Union Flag of Britain in the top left-hand corner and the shield from the Fiji Coat of Arms on a light blue background in the fly. The design for the national flag was selected as the result of a competition won jointly by Mr. Robi Wilcock and Mrs. Murray MacKenzie.
Coat of Arms
Fiji's National Coat of arms consists of the images of two Fijian warriors on either side of a shield and the motto "Rerevaka na Kalou ka Doka na Tui" below the shield. These words mean "Fear God and honour the Queen." The shield from the coat of arms has the image of a heraldic lion holding a cocoa pod across the top. Sugarcane, a coconut palm and bunch of bananas are represented in three of the shields sections. The fourth contains the reproduction of a dove of peace, the main feature, of the Cakobau Government's flag before cession.
The tabua a whale's tooth is much prized in Fijian tradition. It takes precedence over everything else and occupies first place in Fijian ceremony, whether for family, intertribal or s
tate occasions. It is regarded as a sacred bond between two parties. It is used as a symbol of peace and disputes or quarrels can be smoothed over by its presentation.
Blessing grant oh God of nations on the isles of Fiji
As we stand united under noble banner blue
And we honour and defend the cause of freedom ever
Onward march together God bless Fiji
For Fiji, ever Fiji, let our voices ring with pride.
For Fiji ever Fiji her name hail far and wide,
A land of freedom , hope and glory to endure whatever befall.
May God bless Fiji
Blessing grant oh God of nations on the isles of Fiji
Shores of golden sand and sunshine, happiness and song
Stand united , we of Fiji, fame and glory ever
Onward march together God bless Fiji.
Words by: Michael Francis Alexander Prescott (b. 1928)
(The melody is based on an old traditional Fijian song)
Fiji became an independent Commonwealth country on the 10th of October , 1970.
Listen to the Fiji National Anthem
Format: quicktime - realaudio - midi
Meda Dau Doka - Fijian Version
Meda dau doka ka vinakata na vanua
E ra sa dau tiko kina na savasava
Rawa tu na gauna ni sautu na veilomani
Biu na i tovo tawa savasava
Me bula ga ko Viti
Ka me toro ga ki liu
Me ra turaga vinaka ko ira na i liuliu
Me ra liutaki na tamata
E na veika vinaka
Me oti kina na i tovo ca
Me da dau doka ka vinakata na vanua
E ra sa dau tiko kina na savasava
Rawa tu na gauna ni sautu na veilomani
Me sa biu na i tovo tawa yaga
Bale ga vei kemuni na cauravou e Viti
Ni yavala me savasava na vanua
Ni kakua ni vosota na dukadukali
Ka me da sa qai biuta vakadua
Map of Fiji
The Ministry of Information is given the responsibility of disseminating information on government’s policies, plans and programmes. It does not normally answer questions about the private sector, but refers them direct to the relevant source, where such queries can be answered.
Listed below are some of the Frequently Asked Questions we receive and the answers we have provided:
What are the visitor visa requirements for a non-Fiji citizen
A. Holders of Passports from visa exempt countries are granted visitors visas valid for 4 months on arrival. Extensions can be made up to 6 months on condition that they hold a valid passport (valid for 3 months) beyond the intended period of stay in Fiji, outward ticket and sufficient funds to facilitate duration of stay.
What countries are exempt from acquiring visas for entry into Fiji?
A. Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, The Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Cook Islands [NZ passport holder] Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Commonwealth Dominica, Estonia, The federal Republic of Germany, The federated States of Micronesia, Finland, France, The Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Holy See (Vatican), Hong Kong [SAR] Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lesotho, Luxemburg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Nauru, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, The Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Serbia, Slovak Republic, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United Kingdom of great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe
For more information on immigration, residence & citizenship requirements contact:
Phone: (679) 3312622
Fax: (679) 3301653
What are the requirements for investment in Fiji?
Where can I get more information on child adoption in Fiji?
A. Contact the Social Welfare Department of Fiji.
Phone: (679) 3315 585
Fax: (679) 3305 110
Can you provide with me statistics/figures on -------------?
A. Contact the Bureau of Statistics
Phone: (679) 3315 822
What are the dates for Public Holidays for next year?
Where do I acquire a birth certificate for a Fiji national?
A. Contact: Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages Department
Phone: (679) 3315280
Fax: (679) 3304917
Where can I get information on historical developments/documents of Fiji?
A. National Archives of Fiji.
Phone: (679) 3304144
Fax: (679) 3307006
Where can I purchase archival footage of Fiji?
A. Film Television Unit (FTU).
Phone: (679) 3314688
Fax: (679) 3300196
Fiji Television Ltd
Phone: (679) 3305100
Fax: (679) 3305077
Where do I get information on hotels, tourist/travel services?
A. Fiji Visitors Bureau:
Fiji's flora and fauna are relatively few in number but are of exceptional scientific interest because of the higher proportion of endemic forms - i.e. those found nowhere else in the world. Ten per cent of the 476 indigenous Fijian plant species identified are endemic. Fiji also has a few rare reptiles and birds. Notable of this, is the Crested Iguana, found only in some parts of Fiji namely Yadua Taba in Bua and the Yasawas.
Other rare species include the Fiji burrowing snake, Fiji petrel, the pink billed parrot finch, the red throat lorikeet and the long legged warbler. Two researches in conjunction with the Fiji Museum found bones of crocodiles, giant tortoises and giant Fiji pigeons during one of their projects. The crocodiles were around two and a half meters long and the giant iguanas a meter and a half long. The amended bones of these long extinct animals were found in the Volivoli and Qarinivokai caves which is situated to the West of Sigatoka dunes.
Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman discovered the islands but did not attempt to land because of reports of cannibalism that was rampant in the islands.
English navigator, Captain James Cook, also sailed close to the group but, again, did not attempt any landing. By 1777 Captain Cook had been able to talk to Fijians living in Tonga and had written the following to the master of Resolution (W Bligh), which was under his command during that expedition. "Feejee and Tongataboo engage in war against each other; and the inhabitants of the latter are often so much afraid of his enemy that they bend the body forward and cover the face with the hands, to express the sense of their own inferiority to the Feejee men..."
Captain William Bligh, after mutiny on the Bounty (April 28), sailed through the Fiji group, entering it south of Moce and North of Yagasa on Monday, May 4. Within the next 24 hours he would pass close to Nairai and Gau, noting that there were bigger islands appearing in the SW and NNW. Bligh was chased by two canoes in the Yasawas but they managed to stay out of reach.
Bligh revisits Fiji in HMS Providence
Bukatatanoa Reef, near Lakeba, is where the American schooner Argo ran aground. One crew member died, but the ship carried a deadlier cargo which was to infest the Fiji group under the name "Lila Balavu" a strain of Asian cholera.
The Argo was closely followed by the La Plumier which had picked up Oliver Slater, who had discovered and was the first man to market sandalwood from Bua.
It was a June night when the American Brigantine, Eliza hit Mocea reef near Nairai, bringing to Fiji the notorious, Charlie Savage and his muskets
February, an East Indiaman, under Captain Robson and a tender Elizabeth under its master Peter Dillon, arrived in Bua to get more sandalwood.
Seru, later Cakobau is born
The village of Suva relocates from Nauluvatu to its new location in what is now Thurston Gardens. They moved because the Tui Suva Tabakaucoro had married a Bauan lady who did not want to climb hills.
12th October 1835
William Cross 1842 at Somosomo;
John Hunt 1848 at Viwa
David Cargill 1843 in Tonga.
The United States Exploring Expedition reached Fiji, after spending three months in Fiji waters charting the major islands of the group under the leadership of Commodore Charles Wilkes
The siege of Suva, in which 400 people were killed, started over a pig. After the initial attack from Rewa and her allies, the people of Suva had gone back to Uluvatu and later presented na i soro. The Rewans accepted but a small chieftain Kovelevu broke the armistice when he clubbed a woman, which received a sharp rejoinder from the husband.
First Roman Catholic missionaries arrive in Lakeba.
1845 - the 11 year war
On a June morning the Roko Tui Dreketi, Banuve, was invited aboard Cakobau's canoe, Ra Marama, where he was to formally accept Cakobau's offer of peace, but no sooner had he stepped on board when Cakobau split his head with his battle axe.
Ma'afu had arrived and set up government at Lakeba. He put in place a Parliament and a system of land tenureship and lease holdings and taxation, before finally relocating and moving lock stock and barrel, to Lomaloma in Vanua Balavu
Tanoa dies and Seru Cakobau assumed the title of Vunivalu and styles himself as Tui Viti, and on a Sunday, April 30, Cakobau became a christian and the death drum 'Rogorogo i valu' was beaten to herald his first church service.
April 7, 1855
The Battle of Kaba, as Cakobau, aided by King George of Tonga, swept through the Kaba promontory killing 200 defenders and capturing a further 200, whom Cakobau, in a religious fervor pardoned. Ratu Mara was captured later at Levuka and taken to Bau where he was hanged. Before the hanging he was approached by a village elder to pronounce the birth of a son whom he named Madrai-wiwi (sour bread) saying his life had turned sour as he was to die. Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi became the father of Ratu Sir Joseva Lalabalavu Vanaaliali Sukuna, the father of modern Fiji.
Settlers began to arrive in droves making Levuka their home by choice
Blackbirders arrived in Fiji and with them brought the first New Hebrides and Solomon Island labourers, to assist in the cotton plantations.
A confederacy of native kingdoms was first mooted and Fiji's first constitution was drawn up and signed by seven independent chiefs of Fiji, representing the states of Bau, Lakeba, Rewa, Bua, Cakaudrove, Macuata and Naduri, each to form part of the General Assembly. Cakobau was elected president for two years in a row, and when Ma'afu sought the seat in the third year, the Fijian chiefs refused to be governed by a Tongan and withdrew causing the confederacy to collapse.
Ma'afu did not mind and went ahead with his own plans, coming up with the "Confederation of North and East Fiji" (Na Tovata ko Natokalau kei Viti), consisting of Lau, Cakaudrove and Bua. Ma'afu managed to assume chairmanship later, as Tui Lau.
The Fiji Times began publication at this point in time from an office in Levuka
The Levuka Charter was ratified by Seru Cakobau, giving the settlers the authority to set up and police municipal regulations. However, the Charter was voided by a letter from the Governor of New South Wales.
The villagers of Lovoni were auctioned off as slaves by Seru Cakobau. In June of that same year Cakobau announced a government complete with Ministers. Ma'afu arrived in Levuka a month later and swore allegiance to Cakobau, in turn receiving a salary of 800 pounds p.a. title of Lieutenant Governor of Lau and ownership of Moala, Matuku and Totoya (yasayasa Moala)
August 1, 1871
First sitting of the House of Representatives, which was predominantly a white affair, however they managed to establish a postal service, currency, bank regulations and a land commission.
The Klu Klax Klan was formed to oppose the Cakobau government and a Taveuni planter joined Government, John Bates Thurston. The arrival of the HMS Cossack set things in place as the master, Captain Douglas, threatened anyone crossing Cakobau. England, indirectly, had given a firm nod of assurance to Fiji's King.
This year saw Cakobau's government battle the Kai Colo, following an incident which saw two European cotton planters slaughtered by the Kai Colo. Involved in the fight were the people of Bulu, Nasau, Nanukunuku, Savanunu, Nasautabu, Cubu, Magodro, Nubutautau, Qaliyalatina and Naloto. Cakobau also dissolved the Assembly
On September 28 the Council of Chiefs gave Fiji unreservedly to the Queen. Following this Sir Hercules Robinson, Ratu Cakobau and Thurston went island hopping to get all the necessary signatures
October 10th Fiji was ceded to Great Britain after a meeting of the first Great Council of Chiefs, who were there to witness the solemn occasion
Measles killed over 40,000 in Fiji, reportedly after Ratu Cakobau and his two sons returned from Australia, where they contracted the disease.
Fiji's first Governor, Sir Arthur Gordon arrived from Australia.
28th October 1876
Sir Arthur Gordon issues a proclamation pardoning all hill tribes, bringing to an end all the wars in Viti Levu.
The Home Office and Queen gives approval for Fiji's capital to move from Levuka to Suva.
May 14, 1879
The ship Leonidas arrived in Levuka, and the first group of indentured labourers had arrived from Calcutta. All in all 87 vessels, carrying indentured labourers came to Fiji over a five year period.
Special constables enrolled to guard Levuka from possible attack and the first land sale was conducted in Suva at the Ivi Tree.
August 30, 1882
The Governor, Colonial Secretary and other departmental heads left Levuka on board the Ocean Queen, for the new capital.
The Trans-Pacific cable linking America with Australia, and New Zealand reached Fiji.
The first motorcar arrived in Fiji and was put on public viewing at the park..
30 years after the expiry of the indentured labourers agreement (girmit) 16,000 acres had been leased to Indians. Lautoka sugar mill was receiving 50,000 tons of cane and independent farmers had raised 10,000 head of cattle.
Apolosi Nawai, who came from Narewa village in Nadi claimed a messianic revelation calling upon him to free the Fijians and in the event started the Viti Kabani.
January 1, 1915
The first Fijian contingent sailed for Europe (WWI) aboard the RMS Makura.
September 26, 1915
It was the First world war and the First Battalion of the French Foreign Legion had just been repulsed three times in front of Fort Navarin. The first company volunteered to carry out the last attempt. Among them was a Fijian who was wounded in that action, he was Ratu JLV Sukuna.
The Fiji Labour Detachment is born. Count Felix von Luckner is captured in Wakaya by members of the Fiji Constabulary.
Indians force government into making radical changes in attitude towards free Indians, especially in politics.
A lightning bolt hit Government House and caused a fire which completely razed the Governor's residence.
February 9, 1923
In the early morning the many buildings along the street was razed in a fire that engulfed everything in the vicinity. 45 shops were destroyed. These included eight tailors, 18 refreshment rooms (grog shops) and several retailers.
June 5, 1928
The Southern Cross. piloted by Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm landed at Albert Park. Other members of the crew included radioman Jim Warner and navigator Harry Lyons.
Indian community given go ahead to elect to have elected representation on Legislative Council.
First gold bullion exported from Mt Kasi, and by November a gold rush was officially on.
Establishment of Fiji Airways, but it later fails.
The Dolphin, Emperor and Loloma mines were opened. Ten years later they were producing gold valued at 15 million dollars.
Broadcasting services begun in Fiji by a local subsidiary of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Ltd.
Non-official Legco membership becomes partly elected and partly nominated.
New Government Buildings opens in Suva. First airfield built at Nadi. Pan-Am begins trans Pacific flying boat service.
Native Lands Trust Board set up to look after the welfare of the indigenous Fijian through the better management of their land.
WWII was now in earnest and government had started recruiting the previous year, managing to recruit a force of 6500 which included three regular Battalions, two commando units artillery section labour Corp and all the necessary supporting units.
Introduction of residential permits to restrict immigration.
Harold Gatty restarts Fiji Airways, later renamed Air Pacific.
On the 8th of January 800 men of the 1FIR boarded the troopship Asturias for Malaya, to take part in the Malayan Emergency, a tour of duty that would take four years
December 17, 1953
Queen Elizabeth II arrives in Fiji on her first visit, and the first ever of any reigning British monarch.
Ratu JLV Sukuna (soon to be knighted) is appointed first Speaker of the Legislative Council. Fiji Broadcasting Commission is formed and the Credit Union movement is established.
Formation of the Housing Authority, to look at the problems of housing in the urban centres, for low income earners.
May 30, 1958
9.45am Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna died on the Arcadia enroute for England
December 14, 1960
The United Nations General Assembly passes a resolution defining colonial domination as repression of basic human rights.
The first general elections which gave Fijians total franchise, earlier elections saw Fijians being elected into the Legco through the GCC, and for the first time an Indian dominated political party had entered the race. First South Pacific Games held in Suva.
The Great Council of Chiefs met in Wakaya and drafted what became known as the Wakaya letter, what was to become the basic negotiating document of Fijians in the 1960s., asserting the principles of Fijian paramountcy signed by Ratu George Cakobau, Ratu Mara, Ratu Penaia Ganilau, Semesa Sikivou, Ravuama Vunivalu, AC Reid, John Falvey and RM Major.
Establishment of the Fiji National Provident Fund and the Methodist Church in Fiji becomes an autonomous body.
June 21, 1964
The National federation Party became the first political party to be formed the formalised in Fiji, after the adoption of its constitution.
July 1, 1964
Membership system was introduced in the Legislative Council:
John Falvey - Member for Communications & Works;
Ratu Kamisese Mara -Member for Natural Resources; and
AD Patel -Member for Social Services.
26 July - 9 August, 1965
A Constitutional delegation left Fiji to finalise talks on the Constitutional process for the Independence of Fiji. The delegation was made up of Government and opposition members, led by the Chief Minister, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara. The conference was held at Marlborough House, in sixteen separate sessions. Fishing industry established in Levuka.
Formation of political parties including Alliance as Legco is enlarged and reconstituted. FEA established and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Suva is established.
Council of Ministers replaces old Executive Council and Ratu Mara assumes the post of Chief Minister.
University of the South Pacific established.
October 10, 1970
Fiji's first Prime Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara receives the instruments of Independence by HRH Prince of Wales, Prince Charles.
First South Pacific Arts festival held in Suva.
The first general elections under the 1970 constitution which introduced a bi-cameral Parliament composed of an Upper House (Senate) and a Lower House (House of Representatives. Alliance won 33 of the 52 seats in the Lower House.
Ratu Sir George Cakobau is appointed Govenor General.
Fiji had to have two general elections this year after the first, which was won by the National federation Party could not get started because of internal bickering amongst NFP members, notably Siddiq Koya and Karam Ramrakha. The Alliance took a 20 seat majority in the second elections.
Fijian troops leave Fiji for Peacekeeping duties in Southern Lebanon with the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
Pieces of pottery found in Naigani said to be 3500 years older than any previous find.
The Western United Front has its inaugural meeting.
The Alliance Party again won the general elections. Another Battalion of Fijian soldiers live for Peacekeeping duties in the Sinai Peninsula with the Multi-National Forces and Observers (MFO) a US brokered initiative.
Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau sworn in as Governor General.
Hurricane Oscar causes US$70m damage
Monasavu hydroelectric dam comes on stream.
Reserve Bank of Fiji opens and QANTAS takes over management of Air Pacific.
Four cyclones devastate the country early in the year.
The labour party is formed and two FM radio stations begin broadcasts.
The General Election was won by the Coalition NFP-FLP, and resulted in the relegation of former PM, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara and Alliance MP to the Opposition, while Dr Timoci Bavadra was sworn in as Prime Minister.
May 14, 1987
On a cloudless Thursday, Lieutenant Colonel, Sitiveni Rabuka, third in command of the Royal Fiji Military Forces executed a bloodless military coup at 10am.
There is a second coup in September, after which Fiji is declared a Republic and severs ties with the British Monarchy.
Former Governor General, and Vunivalu of Bau, Ratu Sir George Cakobau passes away
A new constitution was promulgated by the first President, of the Republic of Fiji, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, giving Fijians 37 seats, Indians 27, General voters 5 and Rotumans 1.
The first general elections under the new 1990 constitution was conducted and the Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei took control of the polls.
The Rabuka government falls after failing to get majority support for the Appropriations Bill.
The President, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, dies in the US after medical treatment, following a long illness. He was later buried in Taveuni, and the nation is in a year long period of mourning.
January 18, 1994
Tuesday morning and Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara is sworn in as President and Commander in Chief.
The President appoints a Constitution Review Commission to review the 1990 Constitution. Sir Paul Reeves, Dr Brij Lal and Tomasi Vakatora.
September 6, 1996
After 14 months of consultation the CRC hands in their report to the President, which was duly tabled in a joint Parliamentary seating on September 11. Thereafter a Joint Parliamentary Select Committee was convened to sift through the 697 recommendations, and which was tabled in parliament in July.
Fiji wins the Rugby Sevens World Cup.
May 14, 1997
JPSC report on constitution tabled in Parliament, and also given green light by GCC at its June meeting.
June 6, 1997
History is created when the Leader of the Opposition, Jai Ram Reddy addresses the Great Council of Chiefs.
July 3, 1997
The Constitution (Amendment) Bill 1997 is passed by the Lower House.
July 10, 1997
The Constitution (Amendment )Bill 1997 is passed by the Upper House.
July 25, 1997
The Constitution (Amendment) Bill 1997 is signed by the President and becomes law.
The Constitution Amendment Act is prorogued and becomes law on July 27th.
The Fiji Labour Party gains victory in the national elections. It forms the People’s Coalition Party with three other political parties, the Veitokani ni Lewenivanua Vakarisito (VLV), Party of National Unity (PANU) and the Fijian Association Party (FAP). Mahendra Chaudhry is sworn in as Prime Minister, and becomes the first ever Indo-Fijian Prime Minister of Fiji.
Civilian parliament takeover on May 19th. An Interim Government is appointed with the approval of the Great Council of Chiefs and the President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo on July 28th.
Europeans & 20th Century
They inspired awe among the Tongans, and all their manufactures, especially bark-cloth and clubs, were highly esteemed and much in demand. They called their home Viti, but the Tongans called it Fisi, and it is by this foreign pronunciation, Fiji, first promulgated by Cook, that these islands are now known.
After the explorers, other Europeans followed. For over half a century, Fijian culture enjoyed what has been called its "golden age", as tools and weapons brought by traders were turned by resourceful chiefs to their own advantage.
Canoes and houses were built, confederations formed and wars fought on a grand scale without precedent. Gradually and inevitably, however, the Fijian way of life was changing. As Christianity spread in the islands, wars ceased abruptly and western clothing was adopted.
After Fiji was ceded to Great Britain in 1874, epidemics nearly wiped out the population and it seemed as if the natives were doomed. But the colonial government took the Fijians' side.
Land sales were forbidden, health campaigns implemented and the population picked up again. Theirs was not, of course, the culture of the heathen "golden age", but one modified by the new religion and increasingly the new economic order. Yet in today's Fiji, independent since 1970, a surprising amount has survived.
The 20th century brought about important economic changes in Fiji as well as the maturation of its political system. Fiji developed a major sugar industry and established productive copra milling, tourism and secondary industries.
As the country now diversifies into small scale industries, the economy is strengthened and revenues provide for expanded public works, infrastructure, health, medical services and education.
The country's central position in the region has been strengthened by recent developments in sea and air communications and transport. Today, Fiji plays a major role in regional affairs and is recognized as the focal point of the South Pacific.
Fiji is now home to many races - Indians, Part Europeans, Chinese and other Pacific islanders living in harmony, and keeping their own cultures and identity. Fijians, slightly over 50 per cent of the total population, are essentially members of communities. They live in villages and do things on a communal basis.
The Indians have also regarded Fiji as their home. Most of them are descendants of laborers brought to the country from India to work in the sugar plantations about 100 years ago under the indentured labour system.
Although they were offered passages back to India after their term, most preferred to stay. And through the years they have continued to work the land, becoming prominent in agriculture and also commerce. There has been some intermarriage, but this has been minimal. However, Indians living in the rural areas have adapted well, some even speaking the local dialect and mixing well with the Fijians.
As a country, Fiji is rural based with about 60 per cent of the population living in the rural areas.