More than 300 islands form the Melanesian country of Fiji, one of the most developed economies in the Pacific and with a population of a little over 905,000 as of 2017 estimates.
At first the Europeans werent 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.)
A little more than half of the total population is ethnic Fijians, who now call themselves iTaukei. Slightly under 40% is of subcontinent Indian origin, descended from migrant workers brought to the islands during British rule from the 1870s to World War I. The remaining 56% consists of Europeans, part-Europeans, Chinese, and other Pacific Islanders. This last category also includes the Rotumans, the indigenous people of a small group of islands north of the main grouping, who are mostly Polynesian by ethnicity with a culture that freely mixes Polynesian, Melanesian, and Micronesian traditions (their islands are something of a crossroads for that part of the Pacific).
The official languages are Fijian (a Polynesian language spoken by iTaukei) and English (widely spoken by all ethnicities); a local dialect of Hindi is spoken by the Indian population. The Rotumans have their own indigenous language, a Polynesian language closely related to Fijian. Their favorite sport (especially for the iTaukei) 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. Golf fans will also recognize Vijay Singh, a descendant of the Indian community who was one of the world's top players in the Nineties and Noughties.
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 first Tekken has a level set in Fiji, which was also remade for the second.
- The survival comedy Are You Lost has one of Homare's flashbacks take place in Fiji as her father is teaching her survival techniques in the wild, specifically the idea to use squid ink as makeshift sunblock.
The Fijian flag