Fiji History and Politics

According to, Fiji is an island country in Oceania, made up of 322 islands and about 500 islets, located in the southern Pacific Ocean.


The main island of Fiji is known as Viti Levu, and it is from it that the name Fiji derives, since its common pronunciation in English sounds like that in the neighboring islands of Tongay also comes from the Latin vitis which means ‘vine’.

The first residents of Fiji arrived from Southeast Asia long before they were discovered by European explorers in the 17th century.

However, it was not until the 19th century that Europeans came to the islands to settle permanently. The islands came under British control as a colony in 1874. Independence was granted in 1970, although Queen Elizabeth II continued to reign in the country. In 1987 a coup d’état would enact the Republic, which remains today. A new constitution was made, egalitarian between the two great ethnic groups of the country, Indians and the native Fijians.

Ten years later, in 2000, a native nationalist George Speight committed a coup that was countered by another by Frank Bainimarama that restored democratic normality by imposing Laisenia Qarase as prime minister.

The 4 of December of 2006, Commodore Bainimarama makes a coup d’etat against Qarase. Bainimarama had turned against the government because of Qarase’s clemency towards Speight’s coup plotters. The troops surrounded Qarase’s residence, cutting it off from the rest of the capital.

Armed men formed barricades throughout the capital, including around Qarase’s office. The soldiers also attacked police stations and seized the weapons of the only armed police unit, in addition to disarming Qarase’s own bodyguards.

The 1 of September of 2009, Fiji is fully suspended from the Commonwealth, a refusal to give in to demands to call elections in the year 2010.


Fiji has been a republic since 1987 after a coup in which executive power passed from the British governor to a Council of Ministers headed by a prime minister. The 1990 Constitution was drafted for native Fijians to monopolize the country’s political power but was amended in 1997 allowing non-natives greater participation.

The President is the head of state, currently Epeli Nailatikau, elected by a Grand Council of Chiefs, an entity with rather limited powers except in the event of a crisis. The prime minister, Josaia Vorege Bainimarama, has to be elected by majority by the parliament with the arbitration of the president and is the one who directs the government. The parliament is bicameral, there is a Senate with 34 seats (24 of which were reserved for the natives of the Fiji Islands of Melanesia, 9 for the population of other races and 1 for the Polynesian island of Rotuma) and a Congress of 70 seats (37 for natives of Fiji, 27 for citizens of Indian origin, 5 for representatives of other ethnic groups and 1 for the island of Rotuma). The legal system is based on the British one.

2006 coup

Due to corruption in the government, Commodore Josaia Voreqe (Frank Bainimarama) of the Fiji Military Forces struck on December 5, 2006 against the prime minister he had installed after the 2000 coup.

He assumed the powers of the Presidency and dissolved Parliament, preparing the ground for the military to take command. The coup was the culmination of weeks of speculation after the conflict between the prime minister and the commodore. To date, the situation has not returned to normal, with serious consequences such as the 2009 expulsion from the Pacific Islands Forum and the Commonwealth of Nations.

Political-administrative organization

Fiji is divided into four administrative divisions, which in turn are subdivided into fourteen provinces:

  • Central Division: Naitasiri, Namosi, Rewa, Serua and Tailevu.
  • West Division: Ba, Nadroga-Navosa and Ra.
  • East Division: Kadavu, Lau and Lomaiviti.
  • North Division: Bua, Cakaudrove and Macuata.


This multiracial city that became the official capital of Fiji in 1877 This place was under British rule until 1952, so when you walk through its streets you can see the remnants of colonial architecture, including the Government Building that was built in 1939, and the luxurious Grand Pacific Hotel that opened in 1914, but sadly hasn’t been accessible since 1992.

Another place is Albert Park. Australian aviation pioneer Charles Kingsford Smith landed his Fokker VII-3M three-engine plane here? Yes, this happened in 1928 during a trip from California to Hawaii. In honor of him, the national airport was also baptized with that name. Inside the park you can find the Thurston Botanical Gardens, inaugurated in 1913. This garden is full of flora and the entire South Pacific region. Inside the Albert Park you will also find the Museum of Fiii. The Museum houses an extensive collection of archaeological remains, Fijian artifacts, and displays of local tradition.

Fiji History

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