Fiji Fact File
An island group in the South Pacific Ocean, of about 7,000 square miles. Fiji comprises 2 larger mountainous islands (Viti Levu and Vanua Levu) of volcanic origin, as well as 104 smaller inhabited islands and over 200 uninhabited islands.
Ethnic groups:Fijians 51%; Indians 44%; Europeans, Chinese and others 5%.
Life expectancy:Men 66 years, women 71 years.
Capital city:Suva (200,000).
Languages:English (official), Fijian and Hindustani.
Economy:Fiji has the most developed of the Pacific island economies. Its natural resources include fish, forestry, minerals and energy – in the shape of (undeveloped) offshore oil and hydroelectricity (over 80% of Fiji’s energy). The rich alluvial soil supports many crops, including its main export, sugar (which has been traditionally worked by immigrant Indian labour). Tourism is important.
Religions: Protestant (especially Methodists, mostly Fijians) 37%, Hindu (mostly Indians) 33%, cults and independent sects 11%, Roman Catholic 10%, Muslim 7%, others 2%.
History:Fiji became independent from Britain in 1970. Serious ethnic tensions between indigenous Fijians and immigrant Indians (who control much of Fiji’s commercial sector) led to two major military coups in 1987 and 2000. Democratic elections were held in 2001.