The Fiji Islands comprise 333 islands in the South Pacific, with beaches, coral gardens, and rain forests. Most people live on the largest island, Viti Levu, where the capital, Suva, is located. After 96 years as a British colony, Fiji gained independence in 1970. During British rule, indentured servants from India came to work in the sugarcane fields—Indo-Fijians currently constitute 40 percent of the population.
Indo-Fijians are mostly Hindu, while the majority native Fijians are mostly Christian. Tensions between the two communities caused two coups in 1987 and one in 2000. Democracy returned in 2001 and so did a record number of tourists.
Capital: Suva; 210,000
Area: 18,376 square kilometres (7,095 square miles)
Language: English, Fijian, Hindustani
Religion: Christian, Hindu, Muslim
Currency: Fijian dollar
Life Expectancy: 67
GDP per Capita: U.S. $5,600
Literacy Percent: 94
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