Around this time the United States also became interested in asserting their power in the region, and they threatened intervention following a number of incidents involving
their consul in the Fiji islands, John Brown Williams.
It is believed that either the Lapita people or the ancestors of the Polynesians settled the islands first, but not much is known of what became of them after the Melanesians
arrived; the old culture may have had some influence on the new one, and archaeological evidence shows that some of the migrants moved on to Samoa, Tonga and even Hawai’i.
Cakobau, following on from his father, became so dominant that he was able to expel the Europeans from Levuka for five years over a dispute about their giving of weapons to
his local enemies.
 Settlers also came into conflict with the local eastern Kai Colo people called the Wainimala.
 In what Gordon termed the “Little War”, the suppression of this uprising took the form of two co-ordinated military campaigns in the western half of Viti Levu.
 Warnings from the Royal Navy stationed in the area that buying these people was illegal were largely given without enforcement, and the British consul in Fiji, Edward
Bernard Marsh, regularly turned a blind eye to this type of labour trade.
 Three Kai Colo men in traditional Fijian attire With the rapid increase in white settlers into the country, the desire for land acquisition also intensified.
Photograph by Francis Herbert Dufty, 1870s Map showing the migration and expansion of the Austronesians which began at about 3000 BC from Taiwan Pottery art from Fijian towns
shows that Fiji was settled by Austronesian peoples by at least 3500 to 1000 BC, with Melanesians following around a thousand years later, although there are still many open questions about the specific dates and patterns of human migration
into Fiji and many other Pacific islands.
However, many of the settlers had come from Australia, where negotiation with the indigenous people almost universally involved forced coercion.
Upon returning to the coast, the force was met by the white settlers who still saw the government troops as a threat.
An example of this is the Lovoni people of Ovalau, who after being defeated in a war with the Cakobau government in 1871, were rounded up and sold to the settlers at £6 per
As the white settler backed Cakobau government, and later the British colonial government, subjugated areas in Fiji under its power, the resultant prisoners of war were regularly
sold at auction to the planters.
Many Kai Colo were killed, and one of the main leaders of the hill clans, Ratu Dradra, was forced to surrender with around 2,000 men, women and children being taken prisoner
and sent to the coast.
In 1865, the settlers proposed a confederacy of the seven main native kingdoms in Fiji to establish some sort of government.
A naval blockade was instead set up around the island which put further pressure on Cakobau to give up on his warfare against the foreigners and their Christian allies.
An official account of the emergence of the name states: Fijians first impressed themselves on European consciousness through the writings of the members of the expeditions
of Cook who met them in Tonga.
Thus the Colony of Fiji was founded; 96 years of British rule followed.
 From March to October 1873, a force of about 200 King’s Troops under the general administration of Swanston with around 1,000 coastal Fijian and white volunteer auxiliaries,
led a campaign throughout the highlands of Viti Levu to annihilate the Kai Colo. Major Fitzgerald and Major H.C. Thurston (the brother of John Bates Thurston) led a two pronged attack throughout the region.
 Christian missionaries like David Cargill also arrived in the 1830s from recently converted regions such as Tonga and Tahiti, and by 1840 the European settlement at Levuka
had grown to about 40 houses with former whaler David Whippey being a notable resident.
The first whaling vessel known to have visited was the Ann and Hope in 1799, and she was followed by many others in the 19th century.
After these wars, most regions of Fiji, except for the interior highland areas, had been forced into giving up much of their traditional systems and were now vassals of Western
This situation was not appealing to many settlers, almost all of whom were British subjects from Australia.
Since there was still a lack of functioning government in Fiji, these planters were often able to get the land in violent or fraudulent ways such as exchanging weapons or
alcohol with Fijians who may or may not have been the true owners.
 The formation of this force did not sit well with many of the white plantation owners as they did not trust an army of Fijians to protect their interests.
The acting British consul, John Bates Thurston, demanded that Cakobau lead a force of Fijians from coastal areas to suppress the Kai Colo. Cakobau eventually led a campaign
into the mountains but suffered a humiliating loss with 61 of his fighters being killed.
This provided a source of revenue for the government and also dispersed the rebels to different, often isolated islands where the plantations were located.
 With the arrival of Europeans in the 17th century, and European colonization in the late 19th century, many elements of Fijian culture were either repressed or modified
to ensure European – specifically, British – control.
In the early 1850s, Cakobau went one step further and declared war on all Christians.
Cakobau’s influence, however, began to wane, and his heavy imposition of taxes on other Fijian chiefs, who saw him at best as first among equals, caused them to defect from
Historians have found no such evidence; the disease spread before the new British governor and colonial medical officers had arrived, and no quarantine rules existed under
the outgoing regime.
The land that was occupied by these people before they became slaves was then also sold for additional revenue.
 The majority of Fiji’s islands were formed by volcanic activity starting around 150 million years ago.
The local whites refused their posting, and deployment of another 50 troops under Captain Harding was sent to emphasise the government’s authority.
After the expiry of the three-year contract, the government required captains to transport the labourers back to their villages, but most ship captains dropped them off at
the first island they sighted off the Fiji waters.
With these major issues in mind, John Bates Thurston approached the British government, at Cakobau’s request, with another offer to cede the islands.
 Colonisation Main articles: Colony of Fiji and British Western Pacific Territories Despite achieving military victories over the Kai Colo, the Cakobau government was
faced with problems of legitimacy and economic viability.
The religious conversion of the Fijians was a gradual process which was observed first-hand by Captain Charles Wilkes of the United States Exploring Expedition.
 In June 1871, George Austin Woods, an ex-lieutenant of the Royal Navy, managed to influence Cakobau and organise a group of like-minded settlers and chiefs into forming
a governing administration.
They also suggest that and that exocannibalism (cannibalism of members of outsider tribes), and cannibalism practised as a means of violence or revenge, played significantly
smaller roles in Fijian culture than colonial European accounts suggested.
 Although the Cakobau government did not approve of the settlers taking justice into their own hands, it did want the Kai Colo subjugated and their land sold.
Robert S. Swanston, the minister for Native Affairs in the Kingdom, organised the training and arming of suitable Fijian volunteers and prisoners to become soldiers in what
was variably called the King’s Troops or the Native Regiment.
Savage was permitted to take wives and establish himself in a high rank in Bau society in exchange for helping defeat local adversaries.
 Cotton, confederacies and the Kai Colo Kai Colo warrior The rising price of cotton in the wake of the American Civil War (1861–1865) caused an influx of hundreds of settlers
to Fiji in the 1860s from Australia and the United States in order to obtain land and grow cotton.
 About 1,000 of the prisoners (men, women and children) were sent to Levuka where some were hanged and the rest were sold into slavery and forced to work on various plantations
throughout the islands.
Fiji has long had permanent settlements, but its peoples also have a history of mobility.
Archeological evidence also shows signs of human settlement on Moturiki Island beginning at least by 600 BC and possibly as far back as 900 BC.
In a similar system to the Native Police that was present in the colonies of Australia, two white settlers, James Harding and W. Fitzgerald, were appointed as the head officers
of this paramilitary brigade.
The evidence is clear that there was trade between Fiji and neighbouring archipelagos long before Europeans made contact with Fiji.
They called their home Viti, but the Tongans called it Fisi, and it was by this foreign pronunciation, Fiji, first promulgated by Captain James Cook, that these islands are
Although this made for cheap land acquisition, competing land claims between the planters became problematic with no unified government to resolve the disputes.
As a result, anger at the British colonists flared throughout the region, and a widespread uprising quickly took hold.
On the other hand, William MacGregor, the long-term chief medical officer in British colonial Fiji, wrote that tasting of the flesh of the enemy was done only on rare occasions,
and only “to indicate supreme hatred and not out of relish for a gastronomic treat”.
The first Europeans to land and live among the Fijians were shipwrecked sailors like Charles Savage.
Some of the Europeans who came to Fiji in this period were accepted by the locals and were allowed to stay as residents.
 Flag of the Confederacy of Independent Kingdoms of Fiji, 1865–1867 With the demand for land high, the white planters started to push into the hilly interior of Viti Levu.
In 1834, men from Viwa and Bau were able to take control of the French ship L’amiable Josephine and use its cannon against their enemies on the Rewa River, although they later
ran it aground.
 Measles epidemic of 1875 To celebrate the annexation of Fiji, Hercules Robinson, who was Governor of New South Wales at the time, took Cakobau and his two sons to Sydney.
This group of around 400 armed vigilantes, including veterans of the U.S. Civil War, had a battle with the Kai Colo near the village of Cubu, in which both sides had to withdraw.
The Fijians were noted for their distinctive use of weapons, especially war clubs.
Two British commissioners were sent to Fiji to investigate the possibility of an annexation.
His plans were thwarted after the missionaries in Fiji received support from the already converted Tongans and the presence of a British warship.
When islanders were enticed to a religious service, Murray and his men would produce guns and force the islanders onto boats.
Cakobau and his remaining men were then compelled to join with the Tongans, backed by the Americans and British, to subjugate the remaining chiefs in the region who still
refused to convert.
The newly elected Tory British government under Benjamin Disraeli encouraged expansion of the empire and was therefore much more sympathetic to annexing Fiji than it had been
 In the months after this defeat, the only main resistance was from the clans around the village of Nibutautau.
To prove the worth of the Native Regiment, this augmented force went into the interior and massacred about 170 Kai Colo people at Na Korowaiwai.
Cakobau was retained as a largely symbolic representative of a few Fijian peoples and was allowed to take the ironic and self proclaimed title of “Tui Viti” (“King of Fiji”),
but the overarching control now lay with foreign powers.
For example: The remains of ancient canoes made from native Fijian trees have been found in Tonga; the language of Fiji’s Lau Islands contains Tongan words; and ancient pots
that had been made in Fiji have been found in Samoa and even as far away as the Marquesas Islands.
In 1871, the killing of two settlers near the Ba River in the northwest of the island prompted a large punitive expedition of white farmers, imported slave labourers, and
coastal Fijians to be organised.
Major Thurston crushed this resistance in the two months following the battle at Na Culi.
In 1987, following a series of coups d’état, the military government that had taken power declared it a republic.
The British sent warships to enforce the law (Pacific Islanders’ Protection Act of 1872), but only a small proportion of the culprits were prosecuted.
As a result, several aggressive, racially motivated opposition groups, such as the British Subjects Mutual Protection Society, sprouted up.
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