Fiji: Its Past and Present

Fiji is a masked society. To the world, it’s a fantasy island with white sandy beaches and ocean-front resorts; in reality, it’s a society filled with racism, violence, poverty, and corruption.

To understand any society’s current issues, one must understand its past. Early Fiji was avoided by European explorers because of beliefs that the island was inhabited by cannibals. Discovery of sandalwood and a sea cucumber called b^che-de-mer created a profitable trade that drew Europeans to Fiji.

Desires to annex Fiji came from:

  • The French
  • The British
  • The US

Fiji’s King Cakobau offered to cede the island to Britain in return for payment of his overdue debt to the US. After four years, Britain refused the offer. Settlements in Fiji grew under the belief that Fiji would become a British colony.

A large number of settlers arrived from:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Europe

At the time Fiji was becoming a cotton supplier due to the Civil War in the US. Many settlers to Fiji purchased land through the sale of firearms. Tribal conflicts intensified with the supply of contemporary weapons. Fraudulent land purchases created disputes that were never resolved. Newly established plantations needed workers and Fijians were reluctant to further deal with the settlers. Laborers were “blackbirded into Fiji. Blackbirding is a term used for importing island people who were tricked into slavery.

A counsel of chief formed to govern Fiji but resolved due to the inability to agree on anything. Brewing talks of war forced Cakobau to cede to Britain. Britain accepted and Fiji became a colony.

Fiji’s first British governor, Sir Arthur Gordon, implemented the following laws:

  • Native land sales became illegal
  • Tax system required Fijians to work their own land

However, these new laws did not cover sugar plantations. Gordon was familiar with indentured Indian labor and implemented the migration of over 60,000 indentured laborers from Indian.

This is how today’s racial makeup came to be in Fiji. Native Fijians are proud to say their heritage is from Africa. Their features support their African heritage. Fiji is currently under a dictatorship that rules similar to apartheid. Ethnic groups are divided into two categories:

  1. Indigenous Fijian descent had lived on the island for centuries before the arrival of European explorers.
  2. Non-indigenous Fijian descent is the displaced people brought in work the fields.

2 Responses to “Fiji: Its Past and Present”

  1. sofie Says:

    (~.~)

  2. marks6...9 Says:

    (-__-)

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