More than 300 islands form the country of Fiji, one of the most developed economies in the Pacific. At first the Europeans weren’t too keen on visiting the islands because of the cannibalism of the tribes (they even dubbed the islands Cannibal Isles). Eventually the Dutch settled there while they were on the neighborhood and some time later they gave it to the British, turning it into a colony. The current British King or Queen was automatically elected as Paramount High Chief by the Council of High Chiefs. Fiji got its independence in 1970. Since then, it has passed by a certain number of coups; the last one (in 2006) eventually triggered a constitutional crisis in 2009 regarding its legality. The country was suspended of the Commonwealth of Nations for this reason. Although now a Republic, the Council of High Chiefs (which chooses both the President and the Prime Minister) passed a resolution that they still consider Elizabeth of Windsor to be the Paramount High Chief, which is (to say the least) a constitutional anomaly.) The Fijians speak English, Fijian (one of those Polynesian languages) and some sort of Hindi. Their favorite sport is rugby and their sources of economy are mainly tourism and sugar. During World War II, Fijian troops were part of the ANZAC forces. One of the peculiarities of the country is one of the few rail networks in Oceania outside Australian and New Zealand soil. It is a purely cargo rail line, with a very narrow gauge. It's also known for being the home of professional wrestling great Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. Do not confuse with Fuji.
Fiji in fiction
- It makes an indirect appearance in Cast Away. The movie was filmed on one of the small uninhabited volcanic isles of the country and is supposed to represent a fictional island south of the Cook islands.
- Similarly, the 1980 film adaption of The Blue Lagoon was mostly shot on some of the more remote islands of Fiji. Again, the actual name of the island within the story is never specified.
- Though the islands themselves are not shown, much reference is made in early episodes of Red Dwarf to Dave Lister's plan to open a farm on Fiji, have a sheep and a cow, and breed horses. The Felis sapien race who evolved from his cat Frankenstein's kittens have adopted this plan, and go so far as to refer to Cloister's Promised Land of Fuchal. It does however say that after a volcanic eruption, most of Fiji is under 3 feet of water.
The Fijian flag
In a deviation from the standard British "blue ensign", the rest of the field is sky-blue, representing the Pacific Ocean. At the fly side is the national coat-of-arms, which reflects its English heritage through the English lion at the upper third and St. George's Cross (symbol of England) occupying the lower two-thirds; the white spaces on the cross are occupied by a coconut tree, sugarcanes and a bunch of bananas — all three of which are local crops — as well as the dove of peace, the personal symbol of Seru Epenisa Cakobau, the first King of Fiji.