Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fiji Loses Document Confirming Independence

After five years of digging through files, the island nation of Fiji has had to admit that it has lost the legal document that confirmed its independence from the United Kingdom.  As such, the Fijian government has had to take the embarrassing measure of requesting a photocopy from the UK.

Fiji is a cluster of 332 islands and 550 islets in Melanesia, east of Australia, and northeast of New Zealand's North Island.  110 of the islands are permanently inhabited, though nearly 87% of the population of 850,000 people reside on the largest two islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

Britain made Fiji a subject colony in 1874 and went about establishing sugar plantations.  Surprisingly, the first governor of Fiji made a policy that disallowed the use of native laborers or interference with the local culture.  As a result, Indian contract laborers were brought in to work the plantations instead.

Sunshine Coast, Viti Levu, Fiji, Melanesia (Source)
Fiji was granted independence in 1970, but its transition into a stable and independent democracy has not been a smooth one.  Two military coups occurred in 1987 as a result of racial tensions between native Fijians and Indo-Fijians, the latter of whom were perceived by the former to be dominating the government at the time.  Another coup occurred in 2000 when an Indo-Fijian won the position of Prime Minister, and native Fijians felt threatened by hints of land reform by the new government.  Some sense of democratic order was renewed with elections in 2001, but another coup rocked the nation in 2006, leading to a constitutional crisis and eventual dismantlement of the government by the military.  Due to failures to hold elections since the 2006 coup Fiji has been expelled from the Pacific Islands Forum and suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations.

With such a turbulent history since its 1970 independence it is not surprising that the document granting it independence has been misplaced or lost entirely.  However, regardless of the lack of any documents, which are largely symbolic, Fiji will remain a independent nation and would not have to revert back to a colony under the UK.


  1. lololol that's pathetic! C'mon Fiji!

  2. Wow this is completely insane!!
    Makes me want to go and challenge some other nations for their independence. Who wants to help me conquer Rome?

  3. Seriously? That country must be run by idiots


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