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Fiji Geography and Population

Fiji

OFFICIAL NAME: Fiji Islands

CAPITAL CITY: Suva

POPULATION: 906,000 (2007)

AREA: 18,333 km²

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): English, fiji, hindi, andre

RELIGION: Christians 52%, Hindus 38%, Muslims 8%, others 2%

COIN: dollars

CURRENCY CODE: FJD

ENGLISH NAME: Fiji

INDEPENDENCE: 1970

POPULATION COMPOSITION: Fijians 51%, Indians 44%, others 5%

GDP PER residents: $ 2277 (2007)

LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 66 years, women 70 years (2007)

INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.758

INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 90

INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .fj

Fiji, archipelago and republic of the Pacific until 1970 British colony. Among the scattered and very small nations of the region, Fiji plays a central role; the capital Suva houses several regional organizations and the airport in Nadi is the center of flight in the western Pacific. Fiji's traditional one-sided economy based on sugar exports is increasingly complemented by light industry and tourist revenues.

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Fiji - national flag

The flag was adopted at independence in 1970 and remained unchanged after the military coup in 1987. The flag was chosen after a competition and the light blue color for the tablecloth was preferred so that the flag could be more easily distinguished from the flags of Australia and New Zealand. In addition to the British flag, Union Jack, the flag also shows Fiji's weapons with symbols from both Great Britain and Fiji.

Fiji - geography

Fiji Geography

The Fiji Islands consist of two large and more than 300 smaller islands with a 1.3 million. km2 large sea territory. The main island of Viti Levu, together with the northern neighboring island of Vanua Levu, makes up 87% of the area and houses almost the entire population. Just under 100 islands are inhabited; several of them accommodate very small and isolated communities.

The population

consists of two almost equal groups, the native Fijians, who are a Melanesian people, and Indians, who are descendants of the plantation workers who were imported by the English to the sugar and coconut plantations from the late 1800's. and onwards. Together they make up 95% of the population; the rest are mainly Chinese and various Polynesian groups. The latter include banaba on the island of Rabi, which came here from Ocean Island in Kiribati in 1945 after large parts of their island had been dug away by a British phosphate company.

Fiji population

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Fiji, especially since independence in 1970, has been marked both by political rivalry between the two main groups and by significant efforts to promote a common sense of Fijian nationality with less emphasis on ethnicity. During the 1980's, the Indians came into the majority, on the back of continued immigration, but after a Melanesian-oriented coup in 1987, many of the highly educated Indians emigrated. Neither the Indians nor the Melanesians form homogeneous groups. The Indians are divided by religious, caste and ethnic differences with a Muslim minority and a group of Sikhs and immigrants from Gujarat (north of Mumbai) centrally located in the business world. The original Fijians are divided into a large number of clans, and a traditional aristocracy of chiefs tries to preserve their power according to the country's intricate constitution,

Nature and business

The two large islands are mountainous and largely covered by forest. Almost all the islands are of volcanic origin, and many are surrounded by coral reefs, which in many places form large lagoons. The climate is tropical, but temperatures are dampened by predominantly easterly and southerly humid winds. They cause large amounts of precipitation to the windswept shores and to the highest mountains, which are covered with oak. rainforest. The slopes and the lower islands get much less rain, and water supply is a problem on several small islands. Characteristic of the landscape are large areas of secondary forest, which is the result of centuries of relocation land use, where pieces of forest are occasionally burned for cultivation.

Settlement and occupation are predominantly linked to a narrow, densely populated coastal strip, while large areas in the middle of the islands are inaccessible and uninhabited. Everywhere in Fiji, coconut palms are a supplement to the economy, in addition, on many small islands main industry. Only 16% of the area is arable land, and sugar cane is grown on more than a quarter of this. In colonial times, Fiji's economy was completely dominated by sugar cane and coconut; both are of declining importance, but sugar still accounts for up to half of exports and is sold mainly to the EU under the sugar regime of the Lomé Convention.

Fiji's central location in the Pacific region, together with a liberal investment climate, has attracted a number of investments, and the export-oriented textile industry in particular is growing strongly. In the western part of Viti Levu there is a small gold deposit, from which 2-3 t of gold and a bit of silver are produced annually.

Tourism

Fiji has long been a leader in the region's growing tourism industry. Especially around the international airport in Nadi, at the nearby, Indian-influenced Lautoka and on the small Mamanutha islands west of it, there are large hotel facilities that offer especially Australian tourists wide coral sand beaches, scuba diving and golf. Several facilities have led to conflicts with local landowners and traditional fishing interests. Often, the tourism industry exhibits a clear ethnic threefold division of companies with foreign companies as owners, Fiji Indians as middle managers, and Fiji Melanesians for the rougher work. The structure can be found throughout Fijian society and is due, among other things, to the restrictive Fijian land laws, which have referred the Fiji Indians to the other sectors of the economy. The political unrest following the coup attempt in 2000 was a disaster for the tourism industry.

Fiji - language

The official languages ​​of the Fiji Islands are standard Fiji and English. The Fiji language, which includes two quite different dialect groups, belongs to the Austronesian language family. The standard language is based on the dialect of the small island Bau, which is pronounced [mbau], as the traditional spelling has b for [mb], d for [nd], etc. Since approximately half of the population are Indians, Hindi is widely used alongside English.

Fiji - Constitution

The Republic's Constitution of 1990 introduced a two-chamber system giving the Melanesians the right to the post of Prime Minister and to 37 of the 70 seats in the House of Representatives. Fiji Indians have 27 places, other ethnic groups, Chinese and Europeans, 5, Rotuma Island 1. The upper house has 24 seats reserved for Melanesians, 9 for other ethnic groups and 1 seat for Rotuma. The president elected by a council of chiefs must be Melanesian. There is extensive local, including economic autonomy, in Fiji's 14 provinces.

Fiji - history

The archipelago was discovered and colonized in the second millennium BC. of Austronesian-speaking peoples of the Western Pacific. Later migrations from other islands made Fiji a meeting place for Melanesian and Polynesian cultural influences. The hierarchically organized village communities were traditionally bound together by exchanges and trade. But war was also an integral part of life.

The Dutch Abel Tasman (1643) and James Cook (1774) were the first European seafarers to visit Fiji. From the beginning of 1800-t. different groups of Europeans came to the islands: beachcombers, merchants, Christian missionaries, and settlers in search of land. The access to firearms enabled a few chiefs to monopolize power.

In 1874, internal fighting and rivalry between the imperialist states led to British takeover, and Fiji was a colony until 1970. The first British governor, Sir Arthur Gordon, and his successors sought to protect the Fijians. They were allowed to retain control of most of the land and took part only to a limited extent in capitalist development.

To secure labor for the sugar plantations of the white colonists, more than 60,000 Indians were introduced between 1879 and 1916. Many of them were set on modernization and in time came to dominate the business life of the colony. But they could not own land like the Fiji Melanesians, thus making a significant contribution to Fiji's ethnic conflict.

At the independence in 1970, the new state got a democratic constitution that was to ensure the political balance with Melanesians in the leading role. At the 1987 elections, however, a coalition of Fiji Indians came to power, and a strong-willed fear among the chiefs and within the Melanesian-dominated military led to a military coup. The government was ousted and the constitution suspended. Many Fiji Indians left the country and a civilian government ensuring absolute Melanesian control was introduced.

The political rivalry between Fiji's two major ethnic groups, the Melanesian Fijians and the Fiji Indians, continued through the 1990's and culminated in the spring of 2000, when the Melanesian businessman George Speight (b. 1957) with a group of soldiers took the ethnic mixed government as hostages.

He sought to implement a constitutional amendment that would allow only Melanesian Fijians to hold political office. The coup attempt was followed by widespread unrest with looting of Fiji Indian businesses and assaults. In addition, Fiji was temporarily suspended from the Commonwealth. The coup attempt failed and the leaders were sentenced to prison terms. Fiji, however, remained politically unstable. The government's proposal for an amnesty for the coup leaders from 2000 helped trigger a military coup in December 2006, after which coup leader Frank Bainimarama came to power.

In 2009, Fiji was again suspended as a member of the Commonwealth, as Bainimarama, despite promises to do so, had not re-established democracy.

 
 
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