Population: 849,000 (est.)
Language(s): English, Fijian, Fiji Hindi
- The Fijian dollar is the national currency.
- Indigenous Fijians are mostly Christian (around 40%), and the Indo-Fijians are mostly Hindu or Muslim although a small minority are also Christian.
- Fijian and Fiji Islanders are different. A Fijian is someone of indigenous Fiji descent, while Fiji Islander denotes anyone who lives on the island.
- The Fiji territory, composed of national water and islands, is actually only 10% land. The archipelago covers around 194,000 square kilometers and contains 322 islands and 522 islets. Only 106 islands are inhabited.
- Around 94% of Fijians are literate.
- Fiji doesn’t have an official national sport, but most Fiji Islanders consider it to be rugby.
- Thanks to an abundance of forest, mineral and fish resources, Fiji is one of the most developed economies in the Pacific island realm.
Fiji, officially the Republic of Fiji, is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,100 nautical miles (2,000 km; 1,300 mi) northeast of New Zealand‘s North Island. Its closest neighbours are Vanuatu to the west, France‘s New Caledonia to the southwest, New Zealand‘s Kermadec to the southeast, Tonga to the east, the Samoas, France’s Wallis and Futuna to the northeast and Tuvalu to the north.
The majority of Fiji’s islands were formed through volcanic activity starting around 150 million years ago. Today, some geothermal activity still occurs on the islands of Vanua Levu and Taveuni. Fiji has been inhabited since the second millennium BC. The country comprises an archipelago of more than 332 islands, of which 110 are permanently inhabited, and more than 500 islets, amounting to a total land area of circa 18,300 square kilometres (7,100 sq mi). The two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for 87% of the population of almost 850,000. The former contains Suva, the capital and largest city. Most Fijians live on Viti Levu’s coasts, either in Suva or in smaller urban centres. Viti Levu’s interior is sparsely inhabited due to its terrain.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Dutch and the British explored Fiji. Fiji was a British colony until 1970; British administration lasted almost a century. During World War II, the United Kingdom allowed thousands of Fijians to volunteer to aid in Allied efforts via their attachment to the New Zealand and Australian army units; the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) consist of land and naval units.
Thanks to an abundance of forest, mineral and fish resources, Fiji is one of the most developed economies in the Pacific island realm. Today, the main sources of foreign exchange are its tourist industry and sugar exports. The country’s currency is the Fijian dollar.
Following a coup in 2006, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau became Fiji’s president after a high court ruled that the military leadership was unlawfully appointed. Fiji’s local government, in the form of city and town councils, is supervised by the Ministry of Local Government and Urban Development.