An island of hope

Geography - History - Climate - Culture and People - Land System in Fiji - Political Situation - Fiji at a Glance - Fact for Travellers - What to Do and What to See - Smart Phrases in Fijian - Smart Phrases in Hindi - Did You Know ...?

Did you Know that… ?

· … 300 islands make up Fiji, 100 of which are inhabited. The highest peak is at 1,323 meters Mount Victoria, in the main island of Viti Levu.

· … Fiji was settled about 1,500 BC from people to the west, now the Melanesian nations of Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Culturally, Fijians are classed as Melanesians and Polynesians.

· … Fiji was a colony of Britain by request from the island's traditional leaders or chiefs, worried over the strong influence of a warrior from neighbouring Tongan Islands to the east. It formally became colonised on October 10th, 1874. Independence came almost a century later, on October 10th, 1970.

· … Fiji is home to golf great Vijay Singh. Although he resides with his family in the United States, Vijay was born in Lautoka, Fiji's second largest city. It was in Fiji that his skills and passion for golf was born and nurtured.

· … Almost half of Fiji's population are those with Indian ethnicity, descendants of labourers brought in by the British rulers to work on cotton and later sugarcane plantations. One of their sons, Mahendra Pal Chaudhry, created history when he became Prime Minister in May 1999 only to be ousted from power in a coup exactly one year later.
· … Fiji is a breeding ground for talented and highly skilled players in the game of rugby. It is the home of Waisale Serevi, dubbed the 'King of Sevens' by fans of the abbreviated rugby sevens code.

· … Fiji boasts 1,000 identified species of plants and some 23 endemic species of birds. National icon is the tagimoucia flower (Medinilla waterhousei) that is only found in a mountainous lake on Taveuni, dubbed the Garden Island of Fiji for its rich and volcanic soil. The crested iguana is the official mascot of the 12th South Pacific Games Fiji is hosting in 2003.

· … The British monarch was head of state of Fiji until September 1987. A military coup led by then Lieutenant Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka reverted Fiji to republic status. It now has a Prime Minister and a President and has just been re-admitted into the Commonwealth group of nations from where it has been expelled twice.

· … Fiji has an unusual source of foreign exchange: Soldiers serving in UN peacekeeping forces. This began in 1978 when a contingent left to join the UN forces in Lebanon. Although Fiji pulled out from the region in December 2002, the stint has been a source of work and income for thousands of Fiji's young men and women. Soldiers and police officers from Fiji currently serve in UN forces in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Bosnia, East Timor and Bougainville in Papua New Guinea.

· … Home to several regional organisations, Fiji likes to claim it is the hub of the Pacific. Among regional bodies that have Fiji as their home are the University of the South Pacific, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, part of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission and the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

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