History and People of Fiji

The Lapita people, named after their distinctive pottery style, were the first people to inhabit Fiji in about 3000BC, and evidence of their settlement exists throughout Fiji, particularly around the Sigatoka Sand Dunes. They were followed by the Melanesians in about 500 BC, and relatively recent trading with the Polynesian Tongans has added to the cultural mix. In the Lau group of islands, aspects of both cultures still intermingle.

From the early 1800s, both European and Chinese traders visited Fiji for its sandalwood, hardwoods, beche-de-mer, marinelife and, more recently, gold. The British ruled Fiji from 1874, bringing indentured Indian labour to work the growing sugar industry between 1879 and 1916. In 1970, Fiji became a fully independent nation with constitutional arrangements to ensure that traditional Fijian interests were preserved.

The combination of Fijian, Chinese, Indian, colonial European and other Pacific Islands has created a rich cultural mix. Of a total population of some 827,900 people, Fijians make up about 57.25% (473,983); Fijian Indians (Indo-Fijians) make up 37.64% (311,591) and Chinese, Pacific Islanders and Europeans the remaining 5.11% (42,326) (2007 census). While Fijians and Fijian Indians work together, they have largely maintained separate traditions. Eighty three percent of the land is under traditional ownership and cannot be sold. Land used by non-Fijian people is generally under lease.

Discover Fiji

Head to the Highlands for a glimpse of Papua New Guinea’s tribal culture.

See how Vanuatu invented the bungee jump.

Swim with gentle humpbacks in Tonga.

Come face to face with Samoa’s multi-coloured marine life.

Dive into the world’s largest coral lagoon in New Caledonia.

Gorge on French cuisine and tropical surroundings in the Cook Islands.

Dive Fiji’s easy-access sites in this 'soft coral capital of the world.’

Shop to your heart’s (duty-free) content in Norfolk Island.

Explore Nuie’s unique peaks and exciting coastal caves.

Island-hop your way through Tahiti and Her Islands.

Hike American Samoa’s mountain ridges peppered with wild papaya.

Spend New Year’s on Kiribati and be the first in the world to see midnight.

Take a swim at sunset in Tuvalu’s spectacular lagoon.

Fiji Map
Lautoka Nadi Suva