Fiji has over 300 islands in its archipelago, each fringed with coral reefs and lapped by warm azure waters - the diving and snorkelling are superb. Amid its wealth of natural beauty, Fiji's true magic lies in its people and the fascinating blend of their diverse cultures.
Fiji is an interesting blend of Melanesian, Polynesian, Micronesian, Indian, Chinese and European influences. For nearly 50 years, until the military coup of 1987, the indigenous people of Fiji represented an ethnic minority in their own land.
Fiji was the trade centre for the South Pacific during the 19th century, and the British claimed it as a colony in 1874. During the century or so that Fiji remained under British colonial rule, tens of thousands of indentured Indian labourers were imported to work on sugar plantations. Indigenous Fijians, however, managed to hold onto their traditional rites and practices - meke (narrative dance), bure (house) construction, kava ceremonies, tapa-cloth making and pottery.
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Off the beaten track