Fiji, officially the Republic of Fiji (Fijian: Matanitu ko Viti; Fiji Hindi: Fijī Gaṇarājya), is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,100 nautical miles (2,000 km; 1,300 mi) northeast of New Zealand’s North Island. Its closest neighbours are Vanuatu to the west, France’s New Caledonia to the southwest, New Zealand’s Kermadec to the southeast, Tonga to the east, the Samoas, France’s Wallis and Futuna to the northeast and Tuvalu to the north. Because of the abundance of forest, mineral, and fish resources, Fiji is one of the most developed economies in the Pacific island realm. Today, the main sources of foreign exchange are its tourist industry and sugar exports. The country’s currency is the Fijian dollar.
Fiji is divided into Four Major Divisions:
These divisions are further divided into 14 provinces:
- Lomaiviti Province
Fiji was also divided into 3 Confederacies or Governments during the reign of Cakobau, though these are not considered political divisions, they are still considered important in the social divisions of the indigenous Fijians:
- The Burebasaga Confederacy
- The Kubuna Confederacy
- The Tovata Confederacy
Fiji covers a total area of some 194,000 square kilometres (75,000 sq mi) of which around 10% is land. Fiji is the hub of the South West Pacific, midway between Vanuatu and the Kingdom of Tonga. The archipelago is located between 176° 53′ east and 178° 12′ west. The 180° meridian runs through Taveuni but the International Dateline is bent to give uniform time (UTC+12) to all of the Fiji group. With the exception of Rotuma, the Fiji group lies between 15° 42′ and 20° 02′ south. Rotuma is located 220 nautical miles (410 km; 250 mi) north of the group, 360 nautical miles (670 km; 410 mi) from Suva, 12° 30′ south of the equator.
Fiji consists of 322 islands (of which 106 are inhabited) and 522 smaller islets. The two most important islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, which account for approximately three-quarters of the total land area of the country. The islands are mountainous, with peaks up to 1,324 metres (4,341 ft), and covered with thick tropical forests. The highest point is Mount Tomanivi on Viti Levu. Viti Levu hosts the capital city of Suva, and is home to nearly three quarters of the population. Other important towns include Nadi (the location of the international airport), and Lautoka, Fiji’s second city with large sugar cane mills and a seaport.
The main towns on Vanua Levu are Labasa and Savusavu. Other islands and island groups include Taveuni and Kadavu (the third and fourth largest islands respectively), the Mamanuca Group (just off Nadi) and Yasawa Group, which are popular tourist destinations, the Lomaiviti Group, off Suva, and the remote Lau Group. Rotuma, some 270 nautical miles (500 km; 310 mi) north of the archipelago, has a special administrative status in Fiji, which nearest neighbour is Tonga in the east.