Fiji, officially the Republic of Fiji, is an archipelagic country of more than 300 islands in the South Pacific. It’s known for its rugged terrain, palm-lined beaches, and coral reefs with clear lagoons. The majority of the population lives on the two largest islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Suva, the capital of Viti Levu, is a port city with British colonial architecture. Ethnographic exhibits are available at the Fiji Museum, which is located in the Victorian-era Thurston Gardens.
The first settlers in Fiji arrived from the islands of Melanesia around 3,500 years ago.
The Fijian dollar is the country’s official currency.
In 1643 Dutch explorer Abel Tasman became the first European to visit the islands.
Fiji’s official languages are English, Fijian, and Hindi.
Fiji is an archipelago of around 300 islands and 540 islets in Oceania. The islands cover an area of approximately 3,000,000 square kilometers. There are about 100 inhabited islands.
Sugar exports and a thriving tourist industry, along with an abundance of minerals, fish, and forests, make Fiji one of the most developed economies in the Pacific.
In the 1830s, Christian missionaries from other countries began to arrive and convert the local population. Fiji became a British crown colony in 1874.
Fijian girls learn to make pottery and weave baskets and mats, while boys learn to carve kava bowls, war clubs, spears, and the ever-popular wooden forks sold to tourists as relics of cannibalism in Fiji.
Today, approximately 37.5 percent of Fiji’s population is classified as Indo-Fijian.
Fiji’s original settlers, who arrived on the islands over 5000 years ago, are now known as the Lapita people, but they were originally Melanesians and Polynesians.
After 96 years of British colonial rule, Fiji gained full independence in 1970.
Fijians were fearsome warriors who built some of the best boats in the Pacific at the time. They called their home Viti, but the neighboring island of Tonga referred to it as Fisi. Captain James Cook was the first to pronounce it Fiji, and his writings helped to popularize the name.
The Fijian flag still has a British flag on it, as well as a coat of arms with a lion holding a cacao pod and symbols of sugarcane, coconuts, bananas, and a Fijian dove. There have been ongoing calls to remove the flag’s colonial symbolism.
Fijians were also ferocious cannibals known for eating their enemies and making human sacrifices. The ferocity of their way of life discouraged European sailors from venturing near their coastal waters. Fijians now consider those years to be “na gauna ni tevoro” (the time of the devil).
Fiji won its first Olympic gold medal in 2016 after defeating Great Britain 43-7 in the rugby sevens.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Dutch and British began to explore the islands. The British established Fiji as a colony in 1874 and began large-scale sugar cane cultivation there in the 1880s.
A coup led by indigenous Fijians deposed the elected Indian-dominated coalition government in 1987. In another coup in 2000, Fiji’s first ethnic Indian prime minister, his cabinet, and a large number of MPs were held hostage for several weeks.
To prevent an Indian-dominated party from controlling the government, a military dictatorship took over the country in 1987. This sparked a larger exodus of Indian-origin Fijians from the country. The Indian population now accounts for 40% of the total.
Fiji was the first country in the world to integrate GPS into its aviation navigation system in 1994.
Fiji was ruled by one military coup after another until a democratic election was held in September of 2014.
In Fiji, kava is a traditional mildly narcotic drink. The drink, also known as ‘yaqona’ and locally as ‘grog,’ is made from an infusion of powdered roots from the Piper methysticum pepper plant.
The only person permitted to wear a hat and sunglasses is the village chief. Please take yours away. You may also be asked to remove your shoes when entering homes or other buildings.
Cannibalism appears to have been common in Fiji from at least 2,500 years ago until the nineteenth century, according to archaeological evidence. The islands were even dubbed the “Cannibal Isles.”
The Meke is a cultural celebration that includes traditional storytelling and dancing to songs performed at Fijian festivals. It is even more frequently seen during cultural shows at tourist destinations.
In 2003, villagers in Fiji apologized to the descendants of a British missionary who had been killed and eaten 136 years before in an attempt to break a curse. In 1867, Thomas Baker and seven Fijians were murdered and eaten.
Before each match, the national rugby team would perform the Cibi (pronounced “thimbi”). The Cibi is a war dance, as the name suggests. It’s been replaced by their “mBolay! ” A war cry
Fiji is home to over 800 plant species that are found nowhere else on the planet. The tagimoucia is the most distinctive of these. Taveuni’s crimson and white flower grows only on a single mountain ridge.
The majority of native Fijians are Christian, while the majority of Indo-Fijians are Hindu. The Sri Siva Subramanuya Temple is the largest Hindu temple in the Southern Hemisphere. Nadi is home to this vibrant place of worship.
The meke, Fiji’s traditional dance, has been performed since the 1800s. Mekes are typically performed by either male or female-only groups, though a dance known as the vakamalolo combines the two. Men may perform with clubs and spears, while women may perform with fans.
Fijian meals typically include relishes, starches, and a beverage. Yams, taro, sweet potatoes, and manioc are among the starches. Meat, fish, seafood, and leafy vegetables are among the relishes. Water is the most popular beverage, but hot tea with lemon leaves is also available.
On the island of Taveuni, the International Dateline runs through Fiji. It is a popular tourist destination because it allows visitors to travel from one day to the next.
Many islanders raise their brows as a nonverbal expression of “yes.”
The main commercial exports of Fiji are bottled water (16%), sugar (11%), and processed fish (7 percent ).
Fiji has a sizable armed force and has been an active participant in a number of major U.S. N. Peacekeeping missions are carried out all over the world.
Bures, or traditional Fijian homes, are large open-plan wooden structures made of hardwood trees, coconut string, and thatched roofs.
Professional golfer Vijay Singh is one of Fiji’s international sports stars. He has three major championships to his name.
For generations, members of the Sawau people on the island of Beqa in Fiji have performed firewalking (known as vilavilairevo). The traditional ceremony of walking over white-hot coals is now mostly reserved for tourists.
A fascinating Fijian folklore holds that coconuts have eyes. Furthermore, they keep an eye out for specific people who they want to fall from the tree.
The hospitality custom of sevusevu is still practiced in some small and isolated villages on Fiji’s outer islands. To gain entry, visitors must offer a tangled bundle of kava roots as a sign of respect.
The national and traditional drink is kava, also known as Yaqona. Tanoa is a bowl made from the powdered root of the Yoqona bush that is mixed with water. Before and after drinking from the dish, guests must clap.
Fiji has a long tradition of ship and canoe construction. A drua, or traditional Fijian canoe, is a double-hulled open ocean sailing canoe.