Welcome to the Islands of Fiji
The Islands of Fiji are located in the South Pacific Ocean, about 2,000 miles east of Australia and 3,200 miles southwest of Hawaii. The nation’s closest neighbor is the island Tonga. The name “Fiji” derives from the Tonga word “Fisi,” for the Fijan main island of Viti Levu. The writings of explorer Captain James Cook introduced the name “Fiji” to the Western world in the 18th century, but it wasn’t until the 19th century that Europeans permanently settled on the islands. Fiji came under British rule in 1874 and was a British Crown Colony until Fijians gained their independence in 1970.
The nation, now referred to as the Republic of Fiji, consists of about 322 islands (more than half are uninhabited) and 522 islets. A majority of Fiji’s 850,000 people reside on the two main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. The capital city of Suva is located on Viti Levu, and is the South Pacific’s largest urban area outside of Australia and New Zealand. Viti Levu is also home to the cities of Lautoka, the site of the famous Fiji Water base, and Nadi, the location of the Islands’ major international airport and tourist landing. Other important islands and island groups within the archipelago are Taveuni, Kadavu, the Mamanuca Group, the Yasawa Group, the Lomaiviti Group, and the Lau Group.