Pacific Harbour

Fiji Life

Fiji History
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ANCIENT RITUALS PRESERVED Welcome to Pacific Palm Marina Resort Fiji

Fijians first settled in their group of islands about 8,000 years ago from south-east Asia. These Melanesian people also settled the islands to the north and east of Fiji like Vanuatu, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands.

A second migration from south-east Asia, distinguished by the arrival of Lapita pottery, brought Polynesians to Fiji about 3,000 years ago. Some of these Polynesians progressed further to the then uninhabited islands of Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti, New Zealand and Hawaii.

In 1643, the Dutchman Abel Tasman set sail to Indonesia and stumbled upon the Fiji Islands. Nobody returned to see these islands until Captain James Cook, 130 years later.

But it wasn't until after the mutiny of the Bounty in 1789 that contact with the local people was made. Captain William Bligh and a group of loyalists were set adrift in a dinghy by Christian Fletcher and his band of mutineers. They drifted between Fiji’s two main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, through seas now called the Bligh Waters.

British heritage
Over the next 100 years, trade, wars and friendships were made between rival Europeans and rival Fijian tribes. In 1874, tired of endless quarrels and warfare, the self-styled King of Fiji, Ratu Seru Cakobau and several chiefs ceded Fiji (although they did not control the entire group) to Queen Victoria at the historic old capital of Levuka on Ovalau.

The British brought colonial rule and – to preserve the Fijian way of life – introduced Indian labourers to the new sugar plantations through an indentured labourer system called the Girmit.

Republic declared
Indigenous Fijians were actually a minority in their multi-racial, multi-cultural country until a military coup in 1987 led by the then Lieutenant-Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka, ousted the Indian-dominated government of Dr Timoci Bavadra.

Rabuka declared Fiji a republic, severed the country’s 113-year ties with the British monarchy and appointed a new government. Later that year, though, unhappy with the appointed government, Rabuka seized power again and led the country until elections in 1992 when he was voted in a prime minister.

He remained PM until his party’s shocking defeat by the Indian-dominated Fiji Labour Party at the 1999 elections and Mahendra Chaudhry (who was a government MP in 1987) became Fiji’s first ethnic Indian prime minister.

Economy booming
Since 2000, Fiji has been considered quite stable politically and economically. Actually, investment began flowing back into the country not long after 2000 and today investment is at record levels.

Fiji’s population is estimated at 846,085 (Dec 2005, official provisional estimates). About half are indigenous Fijians and Rotumans (463,432); Indians make up about 37% of the population (316,093) and the remainder is made up citizens of European, Chinese or Pacific Islander ancestry (66,560).

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