Fiji is an archipelago of more than 330 islands, of which 110 are permanently inhabited. The two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for 87% of the population of almost 860,000. About three-quarters of Fijians live on Viti Levu’s coasts, the interior is sparsely inhabited due to its terrain. The majority of Fiji’s islands were formed through volcanic activity, with some geothermal activity still occuring on the islands of Vanua Levu and Taveuni.
Fiji has one of the most developed economies in the Pacific due to an abundance of forest, mineral, and fish resources. Today, the main sources of foreign exchange are its tourist industry and sugar exports.
The climate in Fiji is tropical and warm year round with minimal extremes. The warm season is from November to April and the cooler season lasts from May to October. Temperatures in the cool season still average 22 °C (72 °F). Rainfall is variable, with the warm season experiencing heavier rainfall, especially inland. Winds are moderate, though cyclones occur about once a year.
The population of Fiji is mostly made up of native Fijians, who are Melanesians (54.3%), although many also have Polynesian ancestry, and Indo-Fijians (38.1%), descendants of Indian contract labourers brought to the islands by the British colonial powers in the 19th century. There is also a small but significant group of descendants of indentured labourers from the Solomon Islands.
Relationships between ethnic Fijians and Indo-Fijians have often been strained, and the tension between the two communities has dominated politics in the islands for the past generation.
Language: Fijian, English, Hindustani
Ethnic Groups: Fijian (55%), Indian (37%)
GDP: $5,500 per capita
Religions: According to the 2007 census, 64.4% of the population at the time was Christian, followed by 27.9% Hindu, 6.3% Muslim, 0.8% non-religious, 0.3% Sikh, and the remaining 0.3% belonging to other religions.
Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic.
History: Fiji was settled first by Austronesians and later by Melanesians, with some Polynesian influences. Europeans visited Fiji from the 17th century, and, after a brief period as an independent kingdom, the British established the Colony of Fiji in 1874. Fiji was a Crown colony until 1970, when it gained independence as a Commonwealth realm. A republic was declared in 1987, but Fiji has experienced a series of military coups. The current government was democratically elected in 2014.
CCI’s ministry here: CCI began ministry here in 2005.
A group of leaders from a variety of churches around Suva are currently studying together with CCI. We look forward to this training spreading further throughout the Fiji Islands. For more information and project needs, please contact us.