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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Age
Volume 1964
Page numbers 65
URL http://diabetes.org.in/journal/1989_april/article5.pdf
The island nation of Fiji is located centrally in the Southwest Pacific approximately halfway between Australia and Hawaii. Of 300 islands only about 100 are permanently inhabited with 90% of the population on the two main islands, Viti Levu (80%) and Vanua Levu (10%). The islands are scattered over 424800 square kilometers of ocean between latitudes 15 to 20 degrees South and longitudes 177 degrees West to 178 degrees East. The total land area is 18,272 square kilometres. Fiji was ceded to Great Britain in 1874 and
became a crown colony. Following the failure of other ethnic group work force to work in plantations, Indian labour was introduced shortly after cession. The first group of indentured labourers arrived from India in 1879 to work in the British owned cotton, sugar and coconut plantations.

When indenture ended in 1916, 64000 Indians had landed in Fiji and the majority (40,000) chose the option of staying on after the work contracts expired. Now virtually all Indians are second or third generation descendants of indentured labourers. In 1970 Fiji became an independent nation as a British style parliamentary democracy. Seventeen years later, in 1987 following two Military coups it was declared a Republic.
The population of Fiji was 715000 in 1987 with Indians constituting 48.8% (349,000), ethnic Fijians 46% (329000) and other ethnic groups 5.2% (37,000). The capital city of Suva on Viti Levu has a population of 70,000 and if the periurban areas are included the population is 150,000 or 22% of the total population.

The economy is mainly dependent on agriculture and tourism with sugar cane being the most important item accounting for 55% of the total domestic export.

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