of Fijian History
Dutch explorer Abel
Tasman discovered the Fijian Islands, but did
not attempt to land because of reports of
May 4, 1789 Captain William
Bligh, after mutiny on the HMS Bounty
(April 28), sailed through the Fiji group.
1792 Bligh revisited Fiji in
the HMS Providence.
October 12, 1835 The first
Christian missionaries -- David Cargill and
William Cross -- arrived.
May 1840 The United States
Exploring Expedition reached Fiji.
1843 The siege of Suva, in
which 400 people were killed, started over a pig.
1844 The first Roman Catholic
June 1845 The 11-Year War
1848 Ma'afu set up a
government at Lakeba, complete with a Parliament
and a system of land tenureship and lease
holdings and taxation. He would subsequently
relocate to Lomaloma in Vanua Balavu
April 7, 1855 Cakobau, aided
by King George of Tonga, swept through the Kaba
promontory killing 200 defenders and capturing a
further 200 (the Battle of Kaba).
1860-1870 Settlers began to
arrive in droves, making Levuka their home by
1864 Blackbirders arrived in
Fiji and with them brought the first New Hebrides
and Solomon Island laborers, to assist in the
1865-1867 A confederacy of
native kingdoms was mooted and Fiji's first
constitution was drawn up and signed by seven
independent chiefs of Fiji, representing the
states of Bau, Lakeba, Rewa, Bua, Cakaudrove,
Macuata and Naduri, each to form part of the
General Assembly. Cakobau was elected president
for two years in a row, and when Ma'afu sought
the seat in the third year, the Fijian chiefs
refused to be governed by a Tongan and withdrew,
causing the confederacy to collapse.
1867 Ma'afu established the
"Confederation of North and East Fiji"
(Na Tovata ko Natokalau kei Viti), consisting of
Lau, Cakaudrove and Bua. Ma'afu managed to assume
chairmanship later, as Tui Lau.
1870 The Levuka Charter was
ratified by Seru Cakobau, giving the settlers the
authority to set up and police municipal
regulations. However, the Charter was voided by a
letter from the Governor of New South Wales.
June 1871 Cakobau announced a
government, complete with Ministers.
July 1871 Ma'afu arrived in
Levuka and swore allegiance to Cakobau, in turn
receiving a salary of 800 pounds, title of
Lieutenant Governor of Lau and ownership of
Moala, Matuku and Totoya.
August 1, 1871 The House of
Representatives -- composed primarily of
"whites" -- sat for the first time.
1873 Cakobau dissolved the
September 28, 1874 The
Council of Chiefs gave Fiji to the Queen of Great
October 10, 1874 Fiji was
formally ceded to Great Britain.
1875 Fiji's first Governor,
Sir Arthur Gordon arrived from Australia.
May 14, 1879 The ship
Leonidas -- bearing the first group of indentured
labourers from Calcutta
-- arrived in Levuka. All in all 87 vessels,
carrying indentured labourers came to Fiji over a
five year period.
August 30, 1882 The capital
was moved from Levuka to Suva.
January 1, 1915 The first
Fijian contingent sailed for Europe (WWI) aboard
the RMS Makura.
1920 Indians forced the
government into making radical changes in
attitude towards free Indians, especially in
1929 The Indian community was
given the authority to have elected
representation on the Legislative Council.
1932 The first gold bullion
was exported from Fiji, sparking a gold rush.
1940 The Native Lands Trust
Board was set up to look after the welfare of
indigenous Fijian through better management of
1963 The first general
elections which gave Fijians total franchise were
June 21, 1964 The National
Federation Party became the first political party
to be formed.
July 1, 1964 A membership
system was introduced in the Legislative Council.
1967 Council of Ministers
replaced old Executive Council; Ratu Mara assumed
the post of Chief Minister.
October 10, 1970 Prime
Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara received the
Instruments of Independence from HRH Prince of
Wales, Prince Charles.
1972 The first general
elections under the 1970 constitution were held.
May 14, 1987 Lieutenant
Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka, third in command of the
Royal Fiji Military Forces, executed a bloodless
September 1987 A second coup
was staged, after which Fiji was declared a
Republic and severed ties with the British
1990 A new constitution was
promulgated by the first President of the
Republic of Fiji, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, giving
Fijians 37 seats, Indians 27, General voters 5
and Rotumans 1.
1992 The first general
elections under the new 1990 constitution were
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