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I wouldn't be surprised to see a tumble weed roll down the main street. Men, women and children will gather in one location to watch the game together. Many shops will close, tools will be downed, people will call in sick. And if Fiji wins the rugby sevens Fiji are reigning world championsthe celebrations will continue well into the next day.
The cities themselves are not particularly attractive give Nadi a wide berth; the capital Suva, while not particularly beautiful, has more to offerand the mainland beaches are hit and miss. Many of Fiji's older generation adamantly believe cousins of the opposite sex should not speak at all. In some parts of Fiji brothers and sisters do not associate socially, have limited interaction, and only speak to each other indirectly i.
These customs were introduced to prevent inbreeding. When receiving kava, a drink made from the bare root of a pepper tree, you clap once with a cupped hand, drink in one gulp and then clap three times.
Typically to partake of kava you sit on the ground. Kava frankly tastes like muddy dish water, and produces a mild tingly sensation in the mouth. Give it a go though; it's lots of fun to try. The lowest the temperature drops to in Fiji is to about 18 degrees at night. Fiji has a mild tropical climate throughout the year.
From May to October the weather is considered the best, with little rain. From November through to April the weather can be hot and humid with the occasional tropical downpour.
This is also cyclone season. Having said that, I've visited Fiji many, many times in cyclone season and never experienced more than rain. In winter, the dry season, I've seen Fijians wearing beanies, layered in jumpers, shivering and complaining about the cold.
This is the busiest time of the year July and August tourist wise, when Australians and Kiwis escape the worst of our cold weather back home.
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The waves and diving are also considered the best in the dry season. Also on the lush island of Taveuni, aptly named the "Garden Island" you can slide down a gushing waterfall. It's heaps of fun. Located in Suva's Botanical Gardens, the Suva Museum houses an archaeological collection dating back 3, years and cultural objects such as war clubs, cannibal forks and the remains of Reverend Baker's boots - the only non-Fijian missionary known to have been killed and eaten along with seven others in what was Fiji's last act of cannibalism Reverend Baker made the mistake of removing a comb from a Fijian chief's head touching a chief's head, or any Fijian's head, is still a big no no, but thankfully no longer punishable by becoming dinner.
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At village craft and souvenir stalls it's still possible to buy four-pronged wooden forks — a nod to Fiji's cannibalistic past. When visiting a village, it is customary to present a gift of yaqona kava rootand you should dress conservatively with shoulders and knees covered also remove your hat or sunglasses from your head as per 15 above. Expect traditional dancing and to learn about the customs and villager's way of life.
Fijians rely on the village to support each other. If a couple cannot conceive, it's not uncommon for a cousin or another member of the extended family to give one of their children to raise as their own. Large families with four or five children, are also common. The ubiquitous frangipani is worn by both burly men and graceful Fijian women tucked behind the ear to let others know their relationship status - right side if you're married, left if you're unattached.
Men also often wear sulus basically a skirt and yet still manage to look incredible manly. Analysts believe Fijians are happy because they have strong social connections, with life revolving around an extended family unit and a chieftain.
Fijians are also surrounded by natural beauty, have an abundance of fresh food and clean water, and they love to sing and dance.
Hang around them for a while and all that happiness is sure to rub off on you. Even on the main island of Viti Levu, or on popular tourist islands, Fijians still live a traditional life. Heading north, the Vanua Levu islands of Qamea, Rabi and Kioa are smaller, less populated and more in touch with their traditional roots. On the volcanic island of Rabi pronounced Rumbi the Micronesian population even speak their own language.
By labelling native Fijian customs as "debased and primitive", they were able to promote a narrative that Fiji was a "paradise wasted on savage cannibals". Cannibalism, as an impression, was an effective racial tool deployed by the colonists that has endured through the s and into the modern day.BULA! Welcome to the FIJI MUSEUM, city of SUVA in FIJI
Authors such as Deryck Scarr,  for example, have perpetuated 19th century claims of "freshly killed corpses piled up for eating" and ceremonial mass human sacrifice on the construction of new houses and boats. During the Little War ofhe stated that the rare occasion of tasting of the flesh of the enemy was done "to indicate supreme hatred and not out of relish for a gastronomic treat".
Studies conducted by scholars including Degusta,  Cochrane,  and Jones  provide evidence that cannibalism has been practiced in Fiji through skeletal modifications such as those due to burning or cutting. In the Jones study, isotopic analysis of bone collagen provided evidence that human flesh had been consumed by Fijians, although it was likely a small and not necessarily regular part of the diet. Exocannibalism, or cannibalism of members of outsider tribes, and cannibalism practiced as a means of violence or revenge probably play a significantly smaller role than European accounts suggested, with nonviolent and ritualistic practices being more likely.
Bligh Waterthe strait between the two main islands, is named after him, and for a time, the Fiji Islands were known as the Bligh Islands. The first Europeans to maintain substantial contact with the Fijians were sandalwood merchants, whalers and "beche-de-mer" sea cucumber traders.
Some of the Europeans who came to Fiji in this period were accepted by the locals and were allowed to stay as residents. Probably the most famous of these was a Swede by the name of Kalle Svenson, better known as Charlie Savage. Charlie was permitted to take wives and establish himself in a high rank in Bau society in exchange for helping defeat local adversaries. Inhowever, Charlie became a victim of this lifestyle and was killed in a botched raid. The market for "beche-de-mer" in China was lucrative and British and American merchants set up processing stations on various islands.
Local Fijians were utilised to collect, prepare and pack the product which would then be shipped to Asia. Some Fijian chiefs soon felt confident enough with their new weapons to forcibly obtain more destructive weaponry from the Europeans. Inmen 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 Riveralthough they later ran it aground.
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.
Wilkes wrote that "all the chiefs seemed to look upon Christianity as a change in which they had much to lose and little to gain". This process of enforced cultural change was called lotu. He ordered an attack with rockets which acted as makeshift incendiary devices. The village, with the occupants trapped inside, quickly became an inferno with Wilkes himself noting that the "shouts of men were intermingled with the cries and shrieks of the women and children" as they burnt to death.
Wilkes demanded the survivors should "sue for mercy" and if not "they must expect to be exterminated". Around 57 to 87 Maloloan people were killed in this encounter. Eventually, a warlord by the name of Seru Epenisa Cakobau of Bau Island was able to become a powerful influence in the region. His father was Ratu Tanoa Visawaqathe Vunivalu a chiefly title meaning Warlord, often translated also as Paramount Chief who had previously defeated the much larger Burebasaga confederacy and succeeded in subduing much of western Fiji.
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.
In the early s, Cakobau went one step further and decided to declare war on all Christians. His plans were thwarted after the missionaries in Fiji received support from the already converted Tongans and the presence of a British warship.
The Tongan Prince Enele Ma'afua Christian, had established himself on the Island of Lakeba in the Lau archipelago inforcibly converting the local people to the Methodist Church. Cakobau and other chiefs in the west of Fiji regarded Ma'afu as a threat to their power and resisted his attempts to expand Tonga's dominion.
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 equalscaused them to defect from him. InWilliams had his trading store looted following an accidental fire, caused by stray cannon fire during a Fourth of July celebration, and in the European settlement of Levuka was burnt to the ground. Williams blamed Cakobau for both these incidents and the US representative wanted Cakobau's capital at Bau destroyed in retaliation.
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. Finally, on April 30,Cakobau offered his soro supplication and yielded to these forces. He underwent the "lotu" and converted to Christianity.
The traditional Fijian temples in Bau were destroyed and the sacred nokonoko trees were cut down. 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. These chiefs were soon defeated with Qaraniqio of the Rewa being poisoned and Ratu Mara of Kaba being hanged in 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 interest.
Cakobau was retained as a largely symbolic representative of the Fijian people and was allowed to take the ironic title of "Tui Viti" "King of Fiji"but the overarching control now lay with foreign powers. 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.
Although this made for cheap land acquisition, competing land claims between the planters became problematic with no unified government to resolve the disputes. Inthe settlers proposed a confederacy of the seven main native kingdoms in Fiji to establish some sort of government. This was initially successful and Cakobau was elected as the first president of the confederacy. This put them into direct confrontation with the Kai Colo, which was a general term to describe the various Fijian clans resident to these inland districts.
The Kai Colo were still living a mostly traditional lifestyle, they were not Christianised and they were not under the rule of Cakobau or the confederacy. Ina travelling missionary named Thomas Baker was killed by Kai Colo in the mountains at the headwaters of the Sigatoka River. Cakobau eventually led a campaign into the mountains but suffered a humiliating loss with 61 of his fighters being killed. An armed force of 87 men shelled and burnt the village of Deoka and a skirmish ensued which resulted in the deaths of over forty Wainimala.
Other foreign powers such as the United States were also considering the possibility of annexing Fiji. This situation was not appealing to many settlers, almost all of whom were British subjects from Australia.
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Britain, however, still refused to annex the country and subsequently a compromise was needed. Cakobau was declared the monarch Tui Viti and the Kingdom of Fiji was established. Most Fijian chiefs agreed to participate and even Ma'afu chose to recognise Cakobau and participate in the constitutional monarchy.
However, many of the settlers had come from British colonies like Victoria and New South Wales where negotiation with the Indigenous people almost universally involved the barrel of a gun.
As a result, several aggressive, racially motivated opposition groups, such as the British Subjects Mutual Protection Society, sprouted up.
One group called themselves the Ku Klux Klan in a homage to the white supremacist group in America. Once again, conflict with the Kai Colo in the interior of Viti Levu ensued. Inthe killing of two settlers named Spiers and Mackintosh near the Ba River Fiji in the north-west of the island prompted a large punitive expedition of white farmers, imported slave labourers and coastal Fijians to be organised.
This group of around armed vigilantes, including veterans of the US Civil Warhad a battle with the Kai Colo near the village of Cubu in which both sides had to withdraw. The village was destroyed and the Kai Colo, despite being armed with muskets, received numerous casualties. The solution was to form an army. 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 invariably called the King's Troops or the Native Regiment.
In a similar system to the Native Police that was present in the colonies of Australiatwo white settlers, James Harding and W. Fitzgerald, were appointed as the head officers of this paramilitary brigade. The situation intensified further in early when the Burns family were killed by a Kai Colo raid in the Ba River area.
The Cakobau government deployed 50 King's Troopers to the region under the command of Major Fitzgerald to restore order. The local whites, with their own large force under the leadership of Mr White and Mr de Courcy Ireland, refused their posting and a further deployment of another 50 troops under Captain Harding was sent to emphasise the government's authority.
To prove the worth of the Native Regiment, this augmented force went into the interior and massacred about Kai Colo people at Na Korowaiwai. Upon returning to the coast, the force were met by the white settlers who still saw the government troops as a threat. Swanston with around 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. Thurston the brother of John Bates Thurston led a two pronged attack throughout the region. The combined forces of the different clans of the Kai Colo made a stand at the village of Na Culi. The Kai Colo were defeated with dynamite and fire being used to flush them out from their defensive positions amongst the mountain caves. Many Kai Colo were killed and one of the main leaders of the hill clans, Ratu Dradra, was forced to surrender with around men, women and children being taken prisoner and sent to the coast.
Thurston crushed this resistance in the two months following the battle at Na Culi. Villages were burnt, Kai Colo were killed and a further large number of prisoners were taken. About of the prisoners men, women and children were sent to Levuka where some were hanged, the rest being sold into slavery and forced to work on various plantations throughout the islands.
The American Civil War had cut off the supply of cotton to the international market when the Union blockaded southern ports. Cotton cultivation was potentially an extremely profitable business.
Thousands of European planters flocked to Fiji to establish plantations but found the natives unwilling to adapt to their plans.