What Are The Major Ethnic Groups In Fiji?


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With the American Civil War, cotton growing in Fiji became a profitable occupation. Later the sugar industry was developed. Laborers were in great demand and the planters looked to India. Already Indian laborers were being used under an indenture system in Africa, and in 1879 Fiji followed suit. The indenture system continued here until 1916. Of the 64,000 Indians in Fiji at that time, 24,000 returned to India, while others remained in Fiji as settlers.

Today the Indians are as much a part of Fiji as the Fijians, contributing their own accent of color in the glittering mosaic of life. Indian taxi drivers, in white shirts and dark trousers, cater to tourists in search of bargains at the famous duty-free stores of Cumming Street.

There are also domed Moslem mosques crowned with the star and crescent of Islam. Here devotees of Allah bow six times a day. Hindu homes can be found too, containing framed pictures of the Hindu gods, such as Brahma and Siva.
Then there is the Chinese community. These are frugal, hard-working people, fitting quietly into the population as butchers, bakers, merchants, market gardeners and restaurateurs. Other peoples that add color to this palette of the Pacific are Rotumans, Tongans, Samoans and islanders from the Gilbert and Ellice group and the Solomons. Some are the offspring of those brought to Fiji as laborers or wives of the early settlers. Others simply migrated and made Fiji their home.

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