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Fiji Islands

Fiji became independent in 1970, after nearly a century as a British colony. Democratic rule was interrupted by two military coups in 1987, caused by concern over a government perceived as dominated by the Indian community (descendants of contract laborers brought to the islands by the British in the 19th century). The coups and a 1990 constitution that cemented native Melanesian control of Fiji, led to heavy Indian emigration; the population loss resulted in economic difficulties, but ensured that Melanesians became the majority. A new constitution enacted in 1997 was more equitable. Free and peaceful elections in 1999 resulted in a government led by an Indo-Fijian, but a civilian-led coup in May 2000 ushered in a prolonged period of political turmoil. Parliamentary elections held in August 2001 provided Fiji with a democratically elected government led by Prime Minister Laisenia QARASE. Re-elected in May 2006, QARASE was ousted in a December 2006 military coup led by Commodore Voreqe BAINIMARAMA, who initially appointed himself acting president. In January 2007, BAINIMARAMA was appointed interim prime minister.

Languages & Population

Approximate Population: 918,675 (July 2007 est.)

Nationality (Noun): Fijian(s)

Nationality (Adjective): Fijian

Official Language(s): English, Fijian

Major Languages Spoken: English, Fijian, Fijian Hindi

Map of Fiji Islands

Country Facts

Country Name (long form): Republic of the Fiji Islands

Country Name (short form): Fiji

Country Name (local long form): Republic of the Fiji Islands/Matanitu ko Viti

Country Name (local short form): Fiji/Viti

Name of Capital: Suva (on Viti Levu)

UTC Time Difference (from capital): UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Countries Near by, and Bordering Fiji Islands: Tonga, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna Islands

Land Area: 18270 sq km

Comparative Area: slightly smaller than New Jersey

Coastline: 1,129 km

National Holiday: Independence Day, second Monday of October (1970)

International Phone Code: 679

Currency Code: Fijian dollar (FJD)

Internet Country Code: .fj

US Embassy Location: 31 Loftus Street, Suva

US Embassy Mailing Address: P. O. Box 218, Suva


Fiji Islands flag

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