Nation profile for Fiji

A map of Fiji

With a reliance on the tourism and sugar industries, Fiji has one of the Pacific region's most developed economies.

Rivalry between the indigenous Fijian and ethnic Indian communities has been at the heart of much of the political unrest in the nation since it gained independence from Britain in 1970.

More than 330 islands and 540 islets make up the archipelago, which spans an area of about 3,000,000 sq km (or approximately 1point 1 million sq miles). There are about 100 inhabited islands.

  • In capital letters:. Suva.
  • Area:. 18,274 sq km.
  • Population:. 926,200.
  • Language:. Rotuman is added to Fijian, English, and Fiji Hindi.
  • Expected lifespan: (Men) 65 years; (Women) 69 years.

Jioji Konousi Konrote is the president.

Jioji Konousi Konrote

In October 2015, Jioji Konousi Konrote won the presidential election. First elected by parliament, he is also the first president who is not an indigenous person. The Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) chose previous presidents.

In the military, government, and diplomatic services, he has a lengthy career.

President: Sitiveni Rabuka.

Sitiveni Rabuka

After general elections in December 2022, during which the opposition came to an agreement to form a new coalition government, Sitiveni took office as prime minister, ending the nearly 16-year rule of former prime minister Frank Bainimarama.

The coalition government in Fiji is important for the entire region. China has been steadily expanding its financial and diplomatic interests in the Pacific, and both parties have indicated a desire to cool relations with it.

After several political upheavals since Fiji's independence from the UK in 1970, Mr. Bainimarama was installed as president in a coup in 2006. Many of the tensions have their roots in the conflict between the Indian and indigenous Fijian communities.

A race-based electoral system that favored native Fijians over the country's sizable Indian population was eliminated from the constitution in 2013.

The first coup in Fiji, which took place in 1987 as a result of tensions between native Fijians and ethnic Indians, was led by Mr. Rabuka, a former international rugby player. He was the prime minister from 1992 to 1999.

The front page of a daily newspaper reports on the political siutation in Fiji following the coup in 2006.

Alongside outlets run by the government-owned Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, private TV and radio stations exist.

Reporters Without Borders has praised the "spirit of resistance" among journalists, but claims that this is being curtailed by a "draconian" media decree.

In Fiji's history, some significant dates include:

Fiji poster at Bonn climate change conference
With climate change threatening to submerge low-lying islands, Fiji has been at the forefront of global efforts to combat the issue.

1643 . - Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, was the first European to travel to the islands.

1830s . - The first Western Christian missionaries start to show up.

1874 . - Fiji is granted British crown colonial status at the request of its chiefs.

1875-76 . - A third of the Fijian population is wiped out by the measles epidemic, and British troops and local chiefs put down an uprising.

1879-1916 . - More than 60,000 Indian subcontinent indentured laborers were brought in to work on sugar cane plantations.

1916 . - Indentured laborers are no longer being hired by the British colonial government in India.

1920 . - All labor indenture contracts in Fiji come to an end.

1970 . - Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara of the AP becomes prime minister and Fiji gains independence.

1987 . - A coalition with a majority of Indian voters wins the general election, ending the AP's 17-year rule. In an unbloody coup, Lieutenant-Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka takes control with the intention of giving native Fijians political dominance. He declares Fiji a republic in his second coup.

1999 . Mahendra Chaudhry is elected as Fiji's first ethnic Indian prime minister, but he is toppled a year later when insolvent businessman George Speight and retired major Ilisoni Ligairi storm parliament in an effort to establish native Fijians as the main political force.

2001 . - Elections that will bring democracy back.

2002 . - Fiji announces a radical privatization plan to prevent the vital sugar industry's impending collapse due to the withdrawal of EU subsidies.

Fiji military soldier stands guards at the parliament building in Fiji's capital Suva
Following Frank Bainimarama's military takeover in 2006, a Fijian soldier guards the parliament.

2006 . - A coup is led by military commander Frank Bainimarama.

2012 . - The state of emergency is lifted.

2014 . - Frank Bainimarama wins the parliamentary elections and takes over as the nation's civilian leader.

2016 . - Cyclone Winston strikes Fiji, causing the worst storm ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, killing at least 42 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

Aerial view of Tavarua island, Fiji
Over 330 islands make up the archipelago that is Fiji.

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