The official name is the Republic of the Fiji Islands.
Located in the southwestern part of Oceania. The area is 18,376 km2, the population is 870 thousand people. (2003). The official language is English. The capital is Suva (177 thousand people, 2003). Public holiday – Independence Day, second Monday in October (1970). The monetary unit is the Fijian dollar.
Member of the UN (since 1970), IMF (since 1972), WTO (since 1993), Pacific Islands Forum (formerly UTF, 1971).
Fiji is located on 332 islands (110 inhabited) of the Fijian archipelago south of Tuvalu and west of Tonga. The largest islands: Viti Levu (10.6 thousand km2) and Vanua Levu (5.8 thousand km2). Geographical coordinates: 18°00 south latitude and 175°00 east longitude.
Islands of two types – volcanic and coral atolls and reefs. The length of the coastline is 1129 km. Volcanic islands are mainly covered with mountain ranges up to 500-1000 m high (the highest peak is Tomanivi, 1324 m, on Viti Levu). The coastal plains are rather narrow. Arable land – in the mouths of rivers. The largest river – Reva (Viti Levu) – is navigable for 130 km. Among more than 3 thousand species of vegetation, St. 60 valuable species of trees (sandalwood, teak, mahogany, etc.). Mammals include bats and Polynesian rats. There are pythons, lizards and poisonous snakes, more than 100 species of birds. In coastal waters – up to 120 species of fish, crabs, lobsters, shrimps, trepangs, sea turtles, sharks, etc.
Natural resources: fish stocks in the 200-mile economic zone (1.26 million km2), valuable timber, gold, copper, silver, lead, zinc, manganese, offshore oil reserves, etc. There are hydropower resources.
The climate is tropical and very humid. The average number of rainy days per year is 250. Rainy season: November-March. Dry – from June to October. The average annual temperature is +23-26°С. Average annual rainfall: from 1780 mm in the east of the islands to 3050 mm in the west. Under the influence of El Niño, floods alternate with droughts. There are destructive hurricanes (November-January).
According to Countryaah, 3/4 of the population is concentrated in Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. The growth rate is about 2%. Growth is partly offset by emigration. Indigenous Fijians – 53%, Indo-Fijians – 41%. There are also Europeans, Chinese, Filipinos and representatives of a number of Oceanian peoples. Indigenous Fijians are mainly employed in subsistence and semi-subsistence agriculture. St. 80% of the land is owned by local clans (matakali). Indian farmers dominate the production of sugar and copra, they have to rent land from indigenous Fijians, which is one of the most acute issues of interethnic relations. In addition to English, the indigenous population speaks more than 300 dialects of the Fijian language, and the Indians speak local Hindi and Hindustani. Competently 94% of the adult population. Life expectancy for men is 66 years, for women – 71 years. Infant mortality 13 people
Indigenous Fijians are mostly Christians: Methodist Protestants (37% of the total population), Anglicans, Seventh-day Adventists, Presbyterians, and also Catholics (9%). Hindus – 38%, Muslims – 8% (both religions of the Indian population). There are Sikhs and adherents of other religions.
In the 19th century in Fiji, a Melanesian-Polynesian society with a complex social hierarchy was formed, which, as a result of the struggle of the clans, was headed by a king (one of the leaders). In 1874, by agreement between the king and Great Britain, Fiji became its colony. When Fiji gained independence in 1970, the British monarch remained the formal head of state. In the 19th century Indians were brought to Fiji to work on the sugar plantations. In 1945–87 Indo-Fijians made up the majority of the population. When in 1987 the coalition of the Fijian Labor Party (FLP) and the National Federation Party (PNF) won the parliamentary elections, and the Indians won the majority in parliament, this caused discontent among the indigenous Fijians, although the government was headed by the Fijian T. Bawadra (FLP leader). Two military coups followed, bringing General S. Rabuku to power. In 1990, the country was proclaimed a republic, and the Constitution came into effect, establishing the advantages of indigenous Fijians: they were assigned the posts of president, prime minister (until 1999 – S. Rabuka) and the majority of seats in parliament. The military coup of 1987 and the new Constitution led to the exodus of more than 100,000 Indians from the country. However, in 1997, under external pressure, amendments to the Constitution were adopted, removing national restrictions and making a multi-party government mandatory. In 1999, non-racial elections were held for the first time, and an Indo-Fijian, M. Chowdhry, also became prime minister for the first time. This led to another coup d’état in May 2000 and a new acute domestic political situation. Finally, in August 2001, regular democratic elections were held, however, political tensions between native Fijians and Indo-Fijians persist. K ser. 2003 failed to form the constitutionally mandated multi-party government.