Fiji Facts

Fiji is located in the South Pacific Ocean, approximately 1,100 nautical miles northeast of New Zealand’s North Island. The geographic coordinates of Fiji range from approximately 12° S to 21° S latitude and 177° E to 178° E longitude. The country consists of over 330 islands, of which around 110 are inhabited.

Geography

Climate:

Fiji enjoys a tropical maritime climate characterized by warm temperatures and high humidity throughout the year. The climate is influenced by the Southeast Trade Winds, which bring cooling breezes from the southeast. The wet season in Fiji typically occurs from November to April, with heavy rainfall and occasional tropical cyclones. The dry season runs from May to October, with less rainfall and milder temperatures.

Fauna:

Fiji boasts a diverse array of flora and fauna, both on land and in the surrounding ocean waters. The islands are home to unique bird species such as the Fiji parrotfinch and the orange dove. The coral reefs surrounding Fiji support a rich marine ecosystem, with an abundance of colorful fish, sea turtles, and reef sharks.

Longest Rivers:

Fiji does not have significant rivers due to its volcanic terrain, which lacks large-scale freshwater sources. However, the country is crisscrossed by numerous smaller streams and waterways that originate from the mountainous interior and flow into the surrounding ocean.

Highest Mountains:

The highest mountain in Fiji is Mount Tomanivi, also known as Mount Victoria, located on the main island of Viti Levu. Mount Tomanivi stands at approximately 1,324 meters (4,344 feet) above sea level. Other notable peaks include Mount Batilamu and Mount Koroyanitu, which offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.

History

Prehistory:

Fiji has a rich archaeological heritage dating back over 3,000 years. The islands were likely first settled by Austronesian-speaking peoples who migrated from Southeast Asia around 1500 BCE. These early settlers developed agricultural societies based on taro cultivation and fishing, leaving behind megalithic structures and pottery fragments as evidence of their presence.

Indigenous Fijian Society:

The indigenous Fijian people, known as iTaukei, are believed to be descendants of the early Austronesian settlers. Over the centuries, iTaukei society evolved into a complex system of chiefdoms, with power and authority vested in hereditary chiefs known as Ratu. Traditional Fijian culture is characterized by communal living, kinship ties, and elaborate rituals and ceremonies.

European Contact and Colonization:

Fiji was first encountered by European explorers in the 17th century, but it was not until the late 18th century that the islands were colonized by European powers. In 1874, Fiji was ceded to the British Empire and became a crown colony. The British administration brought significant changes to Fijian society, including the introduction of Christianity, the establishment of sugar plantations, and the importation of indentured laborers from India.

Independence and Modern Era:

Fiji gained independence from Britain in 1970 and became a sovereign nation within the Commonwealth. However, political instability and ethnic tensions between the indigenous Fijian and Indo-Fijian communities have characterized much of Fiji’s post-independence history. The country has experienced several coups and periods of military rule, with power struggles often revolving around issues of ethnicity and governance.

Demographics

Fiji has a population of approximately 900,000 people, comprising a diverse mix of ethnicities, cultures, and religions. The population is predominantly of indigenous Fijian descent, with significant Indo-Fijian, European, and other minority communities.

Ethnicity and Religion:

The indigenous Fijian population, known as iTaukei, accounts for around 60% of the total population. Indo-Fijians, descendants of indentured laborers brought from India during the colonial period, make up approximately 37% of the population. Other ethnic groups include Europeans, Chinese, and Pacific Islanders.

Language:

English, Fijian, and Hindi are the official languages of Fiji. Fijian, an Austronesian language, is spoken by the indigenous iTaukei population, while Hindi is primarily spoken by the Indo-Fijian community. English is widely used in government, business, and education.

Religion:

Fiji is a religiously diverse country, with Christianity being the predominant faith. The majority of indigenous Fijians are Christian, with Methodist and Catholic denominations being the most common. Indo-Fijians practice Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism, reflecting the cultural and religious diversity brought by Indian immigrants.

Administrative Divisions

Fiji is divided into four divisions and one dependency, each with its own administrative structure and provincial councils. The divisions, along with their respective populations, are as follows:

  1. Central Division – Population: 345,000
  2. Eastern Division – Population: 70,000
  3. Northern Division – Population: 150,000
  4. Western Division – Population: 400,000
  5. Rotuma Island (Dependency) – Population: Approximately 2,000

10 Largest Cities by Population

The largest cities in Fiji by population include:

  1. Suva – Population: 300,000 (including surrounding urban areas)
  2. Lautoka – Population: 55,000
  3. Nadi – Population: 50,000
  4. Labasa – Population: 30,000
  5. Ba – Population: 25,000
  6. Savusavu – Population: 5,000
  7. Tavua – Population: 5,000
  8. Sigatoka – Population: 5,000
  9. Levuka – Population: 3,000
  10. Rakiraki – Population: 3,000

Education Systems

Education:

Education in Fiji is provided by both public and private institutions at all levels, from early childhood education to tertiary education. Primary and secondary education are free and compulsory for children aged 6 to 16. The Fijian government has made efforts to improve access to education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all citizens.

Top Universities:

The University of the South Pacific (USP), headquartered in Suva, is the premier institution of higher education in Fiji. USP is a regional university serving 12 Pacific Island countries and offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs in various fields, including arts, science, business, and law.

Transportation

Airports:

Fiji is served by several international airports, with the main hub located in Nadi on the island of Viti Levu. Nadi International Airport is the largest airport in Fiji and handles the majority of international flights. Other significant airports include Nausori International Airport near Suva and Labasa Airport on the island of Vanua Levu.

Ports:

Fiji has several major ports that serve as vital transportation hubs for maritime trade and passenger travel. The Port of Suva, located in the capital city, is the largest and busiest port in Fiji, handling both domestic and international cargo shipments. Other important ports include the Port of Lautoka and the Port of Levuka.

Country Facts

  • Population: 900,000
  • Capital: Suva
  • Official Languages: English, Fijian, Hindi
  • Religion: Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism
  • Ethnic Groups: iTaukei (Indigenous Fijians), Indo-Fijians, Europeans, Others
  • Currency: Fijian Dollar (FJD)
  • ISO Country Code: FJ
  • International Calling Code: +679
  • Top-Level Domain: .fj