Fiji is an island country situated in Melanesia, a part of Oceania in the Pacific Ocean. Despite all its natural beauty, it can often be overlooked. The country is not one of the most popular travel destinations, but many fun facts about Fiji will lure you to this country.
Common Facts About Fiji
Officially “The Republic of Fiji,” this beautiful Island country is home to over 900,000 people which ranks it around 161st in the world based on population count. One of the most impressive facts about Fiji is that the archipelago plays host to over 300 islands and at least 500 islets.
This definitely gives you an idea of what this country is all about. Fiji is known for its beautiful crystal-clear lagoon, palm-lined beaches, and interesting landscape. It also has a rich culture and beautiful history. Here are several fun facts about Fiji to know about.
Historical Facts On Fiji
Fiji Is Over 1000 Years
Archeological evidence of pottery found in Fiji suggests that this country was inhabited from at least 3500 to 1000 BC. Primarily by the Austronesians and a little later by the Melanesians.
The exact date and time humans landed in present-day Fiji are unknown. It is a popular belief that the ancestors of the Polynesians or the Lapita people were the first to arrive in the area. What happened to them is still a mystery.
Europeans first arrived in Fiji in the 17th century, and their colonization of Fiji took place in the 19th century. The better-known stories and facts about Fiji start from this era. Missionaries and early colonists point to cannibalism as a justification for colonizing the country.
Fiji’s British Rule
The British government ruled over Fiji for close to one century, notably from 1847. The British gained control over the country because a certain fraction of the high-ranking traditional rulers in Fiji signed a deed of concession to the British.
This fact about Fiji continues to be reflected in many aspects of the country today, as British influence over the territory is evident. Notably, the national flag of Fiji has a replica of the British flag. Also, the parliamentary system in Fiji is a replicate of the British parliamentary system.
Fiji’s First Settlement
There are different versions of the story about the first settlers in Fiji, but here’s an interesting fact about Fiji. Voyaging traders dominated the first settlement. It is no surprise that the first Europeans to grace the land were shipwrecked sailors.
Cannibalism In Fiji
True to the justification of the British, for many centuries, cannibalism was common in Fiji. The tribal chiefs pride themselves on devouring their enemies after they have been defeated.
Although the last recorded practice of cannibalism in Fiji was in 1867, with Reverend Thomas Baker being the victim. He was attacked while trying to spread Christianity among the people on the Island.
Fiji was part of the British Colony for over 95 years from 1847. But it gained independence in 1970 on the 10th of October. In Fiji, the 10th of October is a national holiday.
Useful Facts About Fiji For Travelers
World Soft Coral Capital
One of the most attractive facts about Fiji is the access to breathtaking beaches. Beyond the land, it is also known for the stunning coral reefs beneath the ocean. The country’s territory covers over 10,356 square km of coral reefs, including the great Astrolabe reef.
For divers and coral reef lovers, Fiji is the place to be. The reef there offers a great spot for diving, swimming, and snorkeling. The reef has more than 1000 species of fish living in them, which offers a great sightseeing experience.
Kula Eco Park
This is one of the most popular landmarks in Fiji, drawing a large number of tourists each year. You can revel in the eco life in the park while feeding your eyes with its beauty. There you can see plenty of wildlife including young snakes, iguanas, and sea turtles.
The park also offers a fun and interactive experience as you can feed the turtles and hold the snakes. One fact about Fiji is that they don’t have any venomous snakes on the Island, so you have nothing to worry about.
Unique Plant Species
Another impressive Fiji fact is that there are about 800 species of plants unique to the Island. Yes, Fiji’s flora is diverse and a sight to behold.
Tagimoucia flower is the poster boy of the Fiji flora. It is rare and beautiful, giving it a celebrity status among plants. This beautiful flower has a bicolor of white and crimson. Here’s one piece of information about Fiji’s Tagimoucia flower. It is not just unique to Fiji but is said to only be found on a certain mountain in Taveuni (the Northern Island of Fiji).
Outdoor Stroll In Fiji
For those who love the outdoors, Fiji will certainly be your cup of tea. There are many natural spaces to enjoy walks and hikes in Fiji, most notably Natadola Beach, Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, and the Lavana Coastal walk from the beach to the waterfall.
You will find plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun if that is your preferred choice of enjoying in the Island.
The largest Island in Fiji is called “Viti Leyu,” it covers more than 50% of the country’s land area. In addition, around 70% of the whole country’s population resides on this main island here. It is also where you find the capital city of Fiji.
From beautiful beaches and lagoons to lush rainforests and incredible coral reefs, this island is both a natural paradise and a cultural hub. It is where you can get a bulk of exploration done.
Cultural Facts About Fiji
Here’s an interesting fact about Fiji culture. Each ceremony or event is complete with kava. This intoxicating drink is at the forefront of the Fijian culture.
Most Fiji villages have a long tradition of drinking kava for over 3000 years. Traditionally, when stepping into the village, you are expected to come with a gift. In most cases, the gift will be kava root so you can join the kava drinking ceremony.
It’s taken in a communal style as everyone sits in a circle. The kava is processed by pounding it, mixing it with water, then strained into a bowl. The chief takes the first sip and passes it around.
When it is your turn, you clap once; after drinking, you clap three times. Only after this drinking rite will you be welcomed into the village with open arms.
Rugby, The National Sport
Fiji is one of a few countries with rugby as the national sport. Fijians love rugby and unsurprisingly have one of the world’s best rugby teams – “The Fiji Sevens.”
Fijians choose rugby over the globally popular sport of soccer. Many Fijians play rugby at different levels, both in the professional league and union.
It is common for locals to gather around to watch and discuss the game. They can get very passionate about it, so stay calm it seems like a heated discussion; they are probably just talking about the game.
Kokoda, The National Dish
Although not exactly branded as the national dish, kokoda can certainly live up to the title. It is the most popular dish in Fiji.
Kokoda is a raw fish salad, like Peru’s ceviche. The base ingredient is raw fish marinated in lime and lemon juice which kind of cooks the fish and eliminates the raw stench.
Kokoda is different from every similar dish because coconut milk is added to it. It helps reduce the citrus scent and adds flavor to it. Kokoda’s other staple ingredients are seawater, chili pepper, onion, and salt. This dish is mostly served in a coconut shell.
Only Chiefs Wear Hats
Fijians are warm and friendly people, but they frown at certain things. Here’s one cultural Fiji fact that may seem peculiar yet interesting.
In many Fijian villages, only the chief can wear a hat. Any other person wearing a hat is considered rude. Fijians also believe the head is sacred, so touching someone’s head is considered rude.
When entering someone else’s house, make sure you remove your shoes outside. It is insulting to wear shoes to another person’s house.
This is the first word to learn if you ever plan on visiting Fiji. It is a word in Fiji’s native language that is becoming more slang. Bula means “Hello.”
As much as they can speak English, they use the word Bula as their little way of welcoming and integrating foreigners. It is common to hear the locals use Bula in the community as well.
Craft and Culture
No Fijian, even as children, is permitted to be idle or unskilled. This is one of the motivating facts about Fiji, they are constantly honing their skills. Boys and girls have designated skills to learn when they come of age.
Girls learn to weave baskets and mats while also learning pottery. Boys learn to make kava bowls, spears, and their infamous wooden forks. The forks are sold to tourists as relics showing the old Fiji traditions and culture.
Interesting Fiji Facts For Kids
The Capital Of Suva
Suva is the capital of Fiji. It is the more urbanized region in the country and houses a good number of the population. At least 185,000 Fijians live in Suva. While Fiji is known for its natural beauty, the developed cities should not be overlooked. You can still find plenty of culture and local vibes there.
Kula, The National Bird
Here’s an interesting fact about Fiji for kids. The national bird of the Fiji people is Collared Lory. Locals call it Kula. The bird is beautiful and colorful. It’s a rainforest lorikeet, although it can be spotted everywhere in the capital and other urban areas.
Although Fiji has over 300 islands, less than half of those are inhabited. Only 110 of the islands in Fiji are inhabited. Also, there are a little over 500 little islets in Fiji.
Other Fun Facts About Fiji
Three Official Languages
Fiji is one of the very few countries with three official languages. Fijian, English, and Fiji Hindi. Some also refer to Fijian as iTaukei, the first language spoken by major indigenous people in Fiji.
A good fraction of the Fijian population is of Indian descent, making Fiji Hindu the second language. Although all Fijians speak English. One surprising and interesting fact about Fiji is that English is the only language taught in Fijian schools.
Two Days, One Place
Beyond having a unique flower on Taveuni island, it also possesses another interesting call-to-fame.
The international dateline cuts through Fiji in the Taveuni region. When you are on Taveuni island, you can stand on the international date line. Experience Sunday and Monday at the same time, as you jump from one day to another while remaining in the same place.
Agriculture In Fiji
Fiji has a robust agricultural sector. Some of their major products include coconuts, sugar cane, fish, and cassava. Also, Fiji has one of the best-bottled waters in the world. Some of their trading partners include Australia, China, and the USA.
Discovering More Amazing Facts About Fiji
Fiji is a fascinating country with an array of cultures, cuisine, and activities that make it a great travel destination. These are just some of the interesting Fiji facts, but you will find there is way more to explore.
Whether you’re looking to relax by their pristine beaches or explore their vibrant cities, there is certainly something magical about this Pacific paradise. Be sure to visit this beautiful island nation yourself and uncover more fun facts about Fiji, its people, and its culture.