History of Fiji

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The timeline below shows the history of Fiji, from ancient times to the present day. For a more detailed analysis, follow the links under each heading to the related articles.

Contents

Prehistory to 1820 and recent archeology

Located in the central Pacific Ocean, Fiji's geography has made it both a destination and a crossroads for migrations for many centuries.

Melanesian and Polynesian settlement

Austronesian peoples are believed to have settled in the Fijian islands some 3,500 years ago, with Melanesians following around a thousand years later. Most authorities agree that they originated in Southeast Asia and came via Indonesia. Archeological evidence shows signs of settlement on Moturiki Island from 600 BC and possibly as far back as 900 BC.

In the 10th century, the Tu'i Tonga Empire was established in Tonga, and Fiji came within its sphere of influence. The Tongan influence was thought to have brought Polynesian influence to customs and some language into Fiji. The empire began to decline in the 13th century.The prince who came from Tonga was Ma'afu

The Fiji Times reported on 3 July 2005 that recent research by the Fiji Museum and the University of the South Pacific (USP) has found that skeletons excavated at Bourewa, near Natadola in Sigatoka, at least 3000 years old, belonged to the first settlers of Fiji, with their origins in South China or Taiwan. The skeletons are to be sent to Japan for assembling and further research. Obsidian, a rare volcanic glass found only in Papua New Guinea had been discovered there, according to Dr Patrick D. Nunn, USP Professor of Ocean Science and Geography, who theorized that the people could originally have left southern China or Taiwan some 7000 years ago, settling in Papua New Guinea before drifting on to Fiji and other countries. Lapita pottery found on the surface of the graves was almost 2500 years old, he said. Fiji Museum archaeologist Sepeti Matararaba said that the area beside the sea must have been occupied, because a great deal of pottery, hunting tools, and ancient shell jewellery had been discovered. More than 20 pits had been dug following the discovery of lapita in the area.

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