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Related to Fijians: Tongans
the indigenous population of the Fiji Islands. In language, culture, and anthropological type, the Fijians occupy an intermediate position between the Melanesians and the Polynesians. They number 225,000 (1974, estimate).
By the beginning of European colonization in the first half of the 19th century, the Fijians had developed an early class society divided into an aristocracy, free members of a peasant commune, dependent laborers, and slaves. In 1874 the archipelago became a British colony. Although the Fijians have converted to Christianity, chiefly to Methodism, they still preserve vestiges of traditional beliefs and way of life. The principal occupations are the raising of taro, yam, manioc, coconut palms, and bananas and fishing. Most Fijians carry on a seminatural economy. Some work in transport, construction, and mining, and a small intelligentsia has emerged. The Fijians and other inhabitants of the islands fought against colonial oppression. In 1970, Fiji became an independent state.
REFERENCESNarody Avstraliii Okeanii. Moscow, 1956. (Contains bibliography.)
Puchkov, P. I. Formirovanie naseleniia Melanezii. Moscow, 1968. (Contains bibliography.)