(Republic of Fiji, Matanitu ko Viti, Fijī Gaṇarājya)
- Location: South Pacific
- Capital: Suva
- Language(s): English, Fijian, Fiji Hindi
- Population: 860,575
- Total Area: 18,274 sq km
- Currency: Fijian Dollar
- Curious Alcohol Fact: Unlike many of the other islands in the Pacific, Fijians are not big drinkers.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 2.43liters
- Most Popular Drink(s): Cava (a funny-tasting local beverage)
The Sovereign Democratic Republic of Fiji is an island nation located in the South Pacific. The country is an archipelago of about 300 islands and over 500 islets. Just a over a hundred of the islands are inhabited and the nation has the following countries as neighbors: New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, New Caledonia, Wallis & Futuna, Vanuatu and Tuvalu. Of all the islands, two are known for having the chuck of the population and these are the islands of Vanua Levu and Viti Levu. The capital city is Suva and is located on the southeastern corner of the island of Viti Levu (which is actually translated to mean Great Fiji). The island nation was ruled as a British colony until it became independent in 1970. Today, it is one of the most livable countries in the Pacific region.
More than half of the islanders are native Fijians and are either of the Melanesian or Polynesian stock. However, it is quite interesting to know although many Fijians are classified as Melanesians, they have a bigger physique than the other Melanesians found in other nearby island nations like the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Apart from these, almost 40% of the people are called Indo-Fijians, as they are the descendants of Indians who migrated to the island, especially during the British colonial rule. To form the minority are the Rotumas (who are quite distinct), Chinese, British and other Pacific Islanders. An overwhelming proportion (over 95%) of ethnic Fijians are Christians while most of the Indo-Fijians are Hindus. Others are Muslims, Sikhs and Baha’is.
When it comes to eating in the Pacific, one country that you must definitely try is Fiji. The dishes on this island nation can be classified into two –one is the type found amongst the indigenous Fijians while the others is the ones made by the Indians. It is only in Fiji that you can take a meal called kakoda. This tasty dish is made from fish, which has been boiled and spiced. Most Fijian foods are not too spicy and you will find them very palatable. One other meal that you must also take is the one known as lovo meal. Quite popular all over the country, this meal has the following as its ingredients: chicken, pork, seafood (crayfish, lobsters, crabs or shrimps) and numerous vegetables or herbs. All these are then steamed in the milk extracted from coconut. Just have a bite of the lovo meal and you will know that there is paradise right here on earth.
Fijians are fantastic people when it comes to preparing drinks. One particular beverage that you will find irresistible is the cava. This drink is made from ground herbs and roots, and that explains the sharp taste. The cava is usually consumed in groups. Wines and other alcoholic beverages are also sold in other parts of the country.
When it comes to sports, the Fijians are some of the most vibrant people on earth. They have participated in the Olympics and many of the islanders are keenly interested in football, rugby and aquatic sports.
- One of the best golfers in the world, Vijay Singh is a native of the island.
- The island nation is volcanic in nature.
- As small as Fiji is, it has also tasted military dictatorship before.
- Two major islands have almost 90% of the population.
- Feejee is another variant of spelling the name of the island nation.
- Fiji contributes quite a number to the United Nations peacekeeping forces even if its population is relatively tiny.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).
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