Fiji; key historical events
Page last modified 19/6/2020
See also South East Asia for other Pacific island nations
2000, A civilian-led coup instituted an ethnic-Fijian government.
1999, Election victory by the Labour Party. Mahendra Chaudry became Fiji’s first Indo-Fijian Prime Minister.
16/12/1993, Ratu Penaia Ganilau, President of Fiji (1987-93), died aged 75.
1989, Indian Fijians began a mass emigration, as prejudice against them mounted. The 1990 Constitution discriminated against them.
15/10/1987, The Queen abdicated as monarch of Fiji.
6/10/1987, Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka declared Fiji a Republic.
25/9/1987, The second coup of 1987 in Fiji, led by Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka. He opposed what he saw as domination of the Fijian economy by Indian-ethnicity families.
14/5/1987, A coup toppled the Fiji Government, in protest at the influence of Indians in the administration.
12/4/1987, Elections in Fiji won by an Indian-dominated coalition.
10/10/1970. Fiji became independent from Britain. It had been a British colony since 1874.
1900, New Zealand made proposals to annex Fiji; however after indigenous Fijian protests the move was abandoned.
1882, Suva replaced Levuka as capital of Fiji.
1879, The first Indian indentured labourers arrived in Fiji. Large-scale immigration to Fiji from India ceased in 1817; by then some 63,000 Indians had arrived. The Fiji Government offered to repatriate them but two thirds chose to remain in Fiji.
1875, One third of the Fijian population was killed by a measles epidemic.
1874, Fiji became a British colony. This administration replaxced the ‘constitutional government’ of King Thakombau, in fact run by Englishmen, which had incurred major debts and was widely unpopular in Fiji.
1835, Wesleyan missionaries began work in eastern Fiji.
1800, European settlement in Fiji began, comprising of sailors, escaped convicts from Australia, traders and missionaries.
1773, Cook discovered Turtle Island, southernmost of the Fijian Islands.
1643, Abel Tasman sighted Fiji.