Islands include: Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Yasawa Group, Lau or Eastern Group, Kandavu, Rotuma, Thikombia, Taveuni, Levuka, Ovalu, Ngau, Moala, Lakemba, Vanua Balavu, Valoa
Capital : Suva (on Viti Levu)
This country in the Pacific Ocean is made up of 844 islands although only about 100 are inhabited. The first inhabitants were Melanesians and Polynesians and the first European arrival was Abel Tasman in 1643. Fiji became a British possession in 1874 and remained so until it became independent within the Commonwealth in 1970.
There is racial tension between the Indians and Fijians, the main disagreement being over land as the Fijians own most of it and the Indians want more secure tenure. This led to the new constitution including an electoral system that ensured racial balance in the house of representatives. Traditionally, Fijians supported the Alliance Party whose leader, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, became the first prime minister. Indians support the National Federation Party. In 1985, the Fijian Labour Party was formed but has not yet had much electoral success.
During 1987, Colonel Sitiveni Rambuka led two coups. The first, in May, was abandoned after the governor general and the Great Council of Chiefs intervened but the second, in September, was completed despite Rambuka's indecisiveness. The governor general, through Queen Elizabeth, condemned the coup in very strong terms but he resigned in October which meant that the Queen gave up her role as head of state and Fiji became a republic. The new constitution, introduced in 1990, guaranteed Fijians 37 out of the 70 seats in Parliament. There was also a law to prevent military control. In May 1992, an election led to a coalition government and Rambuka was made prime minister by the president. Fiji was recently readmitted to the Commonwealth.
The Fijians are a very religious people and Christian names are common. Languages spoken are English, Fijian and Hindi
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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