Fiji’s History and Culture
The coming together of the Melanesians and the Polynesians created a highly developed society in Fiji long before Europeans accidentally discovered the islands.
Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman, was the first to encounter Fiji in 1643 followed by English navigators such as Captain James Cook who sailed through in 1774. Major credit for the discovery and recording of the islands, though, went to Captain William Bligh who traversed the area after the infamous mutiny on the Bounty in 1789. As missionaries gained influence the practice of cannibalism disappeared.
After Fiji was ceded to Great Britain in 1874, epidemics nearly wiped out the population only to be saved by measures introduced by the colonial government.
The 20th century brought about important economic changes in Fiji which has developed a major sugar industry and established productive copra milling, tourism and secondary industries.
Fiji has been an independent country since 1970.