March 20, 2013

"Austronesian peoples are believed to have settled in the Fijian islands some 3,500 years ago..."

"... with Melanesians following around a thousand years later."
Most authorities agree that they originated in Southeast Asia and came via Indonesia. Archeological evidence shows signs of settlement on Moturiki Island from 600 BC and possibly as far back as 900 BC.

In the 10th century, the Tu'i Tonga Empire was established in Tonga, and Fiji came within its sphere of influence. The Tongan influence was thought to have brought Polynesian influence to customs and some language into Fiji. The empire began to decline in the 13th century....
Fiji is today's "History of" country.

10 comments:

Surfed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Surfed said...

Some of the best surf on planet earth is in Fiji. I present for your consideration Tavarua, Fiji - Cloudbreak at the biggest it's ever been ridden.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI_ph_HzjTk

ironrailsironweights said...

Did I miss Ethiopia?

Fiji has an unusual system of land ownership. Native Fijians comprise a bit over half of the population but own almost all the land. Fijians of Indian descent are about a third of the population but operate almost all of the farms in the primarily agricultural country. Because they cannot own land, they have to lease their farms from the native Fijian owners under long-term leases.

Needless to say, there is never any snow in Fiji.

Peter

edutcher said...

I imagine a lot of swabs jumped ship (or tried to) in Fiji.

During WWII, Fiji formed a commando unit under the New Zealand Army which saw action on New Georgia

PS You did.

Ann Althouse said...

"Did I miss Ethiopia?"

Yes. Click the "History of" tag and you'll get all the post going back chronologically.

poppa india said...

Budd Reef in the Ringgold Isalnds of Fiji is named after my great-great grandfather, Thomas Budd. He was a career Navy officer since 1830 something, serving as a cartographer on the Wilkes around the world expedition in the 1840's. Being a lowly lieutenant. he only had small features like this reef named after him, as well as a coast in Antarctica and an inlet in Puget Sound. He retired before the Civil War, but according to some letters and papers I have, he thought slavery was wrong and disliked the rebels, as he called them, so he went back in the Navy. After the first year, he was KIA attacking a Confederate fort in Florida. His son then joined the Army, fought as an infantry officer in the Army of the Potomac, in Maryland and Virginia. I think they had Navy ancestors in the 1812 war. I've noticed that the whole family, men and women, have had a tendency to take off and travel, civilian or military, all over the world, down to my son, who is in the Army in Korea now, and enjoys being far away, in a world which is new to him.

Mitch H. said...

That article is more of a timeline than a proper wiki article.

Fiji has an unusual system of land ownership. Native Fijians comprise a bit over half of the population but own almost all the land. Fijians of Indian descent are about a third of the population but operate almost all of the farms in the primarily agricultural country. Because they cannot own land, they have to lease their farms from the native Fijian owners under long-term leases.

That's not that unusual, unless you mean the ethnic makeup of the two groups. The greater Mississippi Delta is farmed by agribusinesses that rent the land from non-farming landlords - this system replaced the old sharecropping system once the mechanical cotton picker arrived on the scene. Looks like Fiji's agribusiness specializes in sugarcane.

If I recall correctly, one of Fiji's major industries is the provision of mercenaries for private security companies worldwide. Despite the Polynesian paradise image, it's a mountainous, barren, impoverished backwater, and like most such countries, has to export its excess population in some fashion. The main Fiji wiki page talks about the country as if it isn't a country of grinding poverty, but its per capita GDP is under $4k, that's not good, and goes a long way towards explaining why the country is a politically unstable mess prone to coups and military dictatorship. They were kicked out of the British Commonwealth in 2010 for failure to hold elections, for instance.

Nichevo said...

James Michener wrote of the system in Fiji and contrasted the vaguely apartheid-like British-designed system to, um, where was it, Samoa, some little island administered by the US. Said it was crushing in just the way you describe.

Trashhauler said...

In the middle 80s, I diverted in a C-141 from a storm-covered Pago Pago to Fiji to wait out the weather. After shutting down, I was surprised to see a dozen or so stern-looking Fijian soldiers armed with rifles surround my aircraft.

I told my crew to stay aboard and climbed down to see what they wanted. According to their officer, they wanted my aircraft. I made a quick call to our embassy and was told that Fiji had its own ideas about international aviation conventions and was tired of US state aircraft using their airspace for free.

I was told to on no account let any Fijian board the aircraft. Pondering how I was supposed to do that, armed as I was with a single Smith and Wesson revolver and six shells, I returned to my plane.

Eventually, an Embassy chap showed up and negotiated for some fuel and permission to leave. We departed forthwith. Later, the entire Air Force was instructed to avoid using Fiji as a weather alternate.

Nice place, Fiji, or so I hear.

poppa india said...

Trashhauler, your experience was could have been the same as my g.g. grandfather I mentioned in my above post. According to the Philbrick book, Sea Of Glory, when the Wilkes ships were in the Fijis, they had some theft from their boats, and killings of a couple of sailors, climaxing in a day long musket and spear battle in a nearby village, with casualties on both side, mostly the Fijis. Fierce people then, cannibals even, still are. Fierce, I mean, probably not cannibals.....