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Introduction: Fiji became independent in 1970 after nearly a century as a British colony. Democratic rule was interrupted by two military coups in 1987 caused by concern over a government perceived as dominated by the Indian community (descendants of contract laborers brought to the islands by the British in the 19th century). The coups and a 1990 constitution that cemented native Melanesian control of Fiji led to heavy Indian emigration; the population loss resulted in economic difficulties, but ensured that Melanesians became the majority. A new constitution enacted in 1997 was more equitable. Free and peaceful elections in 1999 resulted in a government...

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Foreign Policy: Fiji is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the Pacific Community (http://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/spacific/regional_orgs/pc.html) , and the Pacific Islands Forum (http://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/spacific/regional_orgs/spf.html). It also has trade and political links with Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu through the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), and is a member of the African-Caribbean-Pacific Group associated with the EU. Fiji became a member of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1993 and is an active member of its successor organisation, the World Trade Organization (WTO). Following the removal of the ...

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People: Most of Fiji's population lives on Viti Levu's coasts, either in Suva or in smaller urban centers. The interior of Viti Levu is sparsely populated due to its rough terrain.

Indigenous Fijians are a mixture of Polynesian and Melanesian, resulting from the original migrations to the South Pacific many centuries ago. The Indo-Fijian population grew rapidly from the 60,000 ...

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History: Longer Historical Perspective

According to Fijian legend, the great chief Lutunasobasoba led his people across the seas to the new land of Fiji. Respected authorities have discredited the long-held academic theory that indigenous Fijians are descended from South American peoples. Rather, it is now accepted that Fijians are the descendants of different groups of early voyagers.

Initially, the area was peopled by groups from South East Asia, travelling to Papua and the Solomon Islands, via Indonesia. This group mingled with later arrivals from the Australasian continent, creating the Melanesian peoples. ...

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