Established: 10 October 1970 (from the United Kingdom)
Population: 912,241 (2018 estimate)
Religion: 64.4% Christianity, 27.9% Hinduism
Language: English, Fiji Hindi
Order of Visit: Thirty-Sixth
First Visit: 1 November 2010
Last Visit: 5 November 2010
Duration: 5 Days
Must Do: Gardens of the Sleeping Giant, Viseisei Village, Vuda Lookout, Sunset Cruise, Swimming and Relaxing
Fiji Journal Entries
Located in the Pacific Ocean.Archeological evidence shows signs of settlement on Moturiki Island from 600 BC and possibly as far back as 900 BC. n the 10th century, the Tu’i Tonga Empire was established in Tonga, and Fiji came within its sphere of influence. The Tongan influence brought Polynesian customs and language into Fiji.
A unique Fijian culture developed started to develop in the 13th century. With the arrival of Europeans in the late 1700s, many elements of Fijian culture were repressed. This was especially the case concerning traditional Fijian spiritual beliefs. Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first known European visitor to Fiji. James Cook, the British navigator, visited one of the southern Lau islands in 1774. It was not until 1789, however, that the islands were charted and plotted.
Early colonists and missionaries utilised and conflated the concept of cannibalism in Fiji to give a moral imperative for colonial intrusion.
The rising price of cotton in the wake of the American Civil War (1861–1865) saw a flood of hundreds of settlers come to Fiji in the 1860s. The British made Fiji part of their Empire on 1874.
Fiji was nt really involved in World War I but in World War II with the creaiton of the Fiji Infantry Regiment. An airstrip was built at Nadi (later to become an international airport), and gun emplacements studded the coast. Fijians gained a reputation for bravery in the Solomon Islands campaign.
The British granted Fiji independence in 1970. Democratic rule was interrupted by two military coups in 1987 precipitated by a growing perception that the government was dominated by the Indo-Fijian (Indian) community. The second 1987 coup saw both the Fijian monarchy and the Governor General replaced by a non-executive president and the name of the country changed to Republic of Fiji. In 1990, the new constitution institutionalised ethnic Fijian domination of the political system.
1997 saw a a new constitution which was supported by most leaders of the indigenous Fijian and Indo-Fijian communities. Fiji was re-admitted to the Commonwealth of Nations. The year 2000 brought along another coup, instigated by George Speight which was followed by around coup in 2006. On 1 September 2009, Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations. The action was taken because Cdre. Bainimarama failed to hold elections by 2010 as the Commonwealth of Nations had demanded after the 2006 coup.
A general election took place on 17 September 2014. Bainimarama’s Fiji First party won with 59.2% of the vote, and the election was deemed credible by a group of international observers. Fiji has been relatively stable since.
Fiji has a significant amount of tourism with the popular regions being Nadi, the Coral Coast, Denarau Island, and Mamanuca Islands. The biggest sources of international visitors by country are Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Fiji’s main attractions to tourists are primarily white sandy beaches and aesthetically pleasing islands with all-year-round tropical weather.
A visit to Fiji is mostly going to be about sun and beaches with hopefully some cultural experiences. This was a very unusual relaxation visit for me. It’s sad that some of the most beautiful islands around the world have some much violence and turmoil. In Fiji the resorts are mostly shut off from the surrounding population but I was glad of the day I left the secure resort area and visited local villages and undertook some mini hikes in the Fiji environment.