Fiji is a nation of some 320 islands in the South Pacific Ocean, only about 105 of which are inhabited. Some are volcanic peaks rising abruptly out of the ocean. Others are coral strips or flat, sandy isles. In size the islands range from mere rocks to 4,010-square-mile (10,386-sq-km) Viti Levu, largest of the group's two main islands.

Most of Fiji's 764,000 people live near the coast on Viti Levu. Here, too, stands the nation's capital, Suva, a busy metropolis that combines colorful parks and gardens with Indian, Melanesian, and European architectural styles.

Native Fijians, a mixture of Melanesian and Polynesian, are slightly outnumbered by the descendants of workers brought from India in the late 1800s and early 1900s to work on sugarcane plantations. Today, as businessmen, farmers, doctors, lawyers, and teachers, Indians control much of Fiji's economy, while native islanders own most of the land. The situation has led to tension between the two groups and in 1987 led to the takeover of the government by Fijians.

A British colony from 1874 until it achieved independence in 1970, Fiji once was known as the Cannibal Islands. Today it is a sunny, tropical republic with one of the best developed economies in the region. Visitors from around the world come to relax on its sunny beaches and are assured of a warm "Ni sa bula"--Welcome.

Economy
  • Per Capita Income: $2,010
  • Industry: tourism, food processing, cement, gold mining
  • Export Crops: sugar, timber, seafood, coconut oil, molasses
  • Food Crops: fish, cassava, rice, livestock

 

Climate
  • Tropical climate moderated by ocean currents.

Average Temperatures in Suva:

July
23C (74F)
January
27C (81F)

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