Timeline Fiji

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  The main island is Viti Levu where the Nadi Int'l. Airport is located. Other islands include Taveuni and Vanua Levu. Bouma National Park on Taveuni is 6,177 acres owned and operated by local villages.
 (SFEC, 6/13/99, p.T5)
 Taukei: the Fijian devotion to land ownership and the spirits of ancestors.
    (Econ, 4/24/04, p.)

1300BC    The Lapita people took once again to the open seas about this time, pushing east past the Solomon Islands to the Bismarck archipelago and beyond to Vanuatu, Fiji and Samoa. Theses Southeast Asian peoples had headed south from Taiwan to Papua New Guinea and as far as the main Solomon islands, where they stopped some 40,000 years ago.
    (AFP, 11/9/10)

c1260BCE    A pottery fragment from this time was found in 2004 near Natadola in western Fiji. It was believed to have been made by the Lapita people, who populated Polynesia.
    (Arch, 1/05, p.11)

1867        Jul, In Fiji Rev. Thomas Baker was murdered and eaten by cannibals at Nubutatau, a remote community high in the hills of the South Pacific island of Viti Levu. Baker had made the mistake of touching a chiefís head. Residents later complained of bad luck and called in descendants to lift a curse.
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Baker_%28missionary%29)(AP, 11/11/03)(SSFC, 8/14/11, p.N2)

1870s    Ethnic Indians were first brought to Fiji as indentured laborers.
    (SFC, 7/27/00, p.A10)

1875        Fijiís Great Council of chiefs was established as the "Native Council" under British colonial rule. The council was disbanded in 2012. Most of the 55 chiefs had inherited their positions and privileged status in island life.
    (AP, 3/14/12)

1878        Apr, A Fijian minister and three teachers were killed and eaten by Tolai tribespeople on the Gazelle Peninsula of Papua New Guinea. In 2007 descendants of the Tolai apologized for their forefathers' actions. Englishman George Brown directed and took part in a punitive expedition that resulted in a number of Tolais being killed and several villages burnt down. Official investigations by British colonial authorities in the Pacific cleared him of criminal charges.
    (AFP, 8/16/07)

1900s    The British government shipped mahogany seedlings from British Honduras in the early 1900s in an experimental effort to create a new source for British furniture makers. The seedlings flourished and the Fiji government started regular plantings in the 1960s to ensure a steady crop.
    (WSJ, 9/13/00, p.A1)

1963        The Fijian Alliance won elections by appealing to Indians as well as Fijians.
    (Econ, 4/24/04, p.88)

1968        The Fijian Alliance won elections again by appealing to Indians as well as Fijians.
    (Econ, 4/24/04, p.88)

1970        Oct 10, The South Pacific island of Fiji became independent after nearly a century of British rule. Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara (d.2004) became Fiji's first prime minister. Fijiís military at this time numbered about 200.
    (SFC, 7/1/97, p.A9)(AP, 10/10/97)(AP, 4/19/04)(WSJ, 9/29/07, p.A6)

1971        Australia joined with New Zealand and 14 independent of self-governing island nations to form the South Pacific Forum. The name was changed in 2000 to Pacific Islands Forum. Member states include: Australia, the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Since 2006, associate members territories are New Caledonia and French Polynesia.
    (Econ, 10/20/07, p.61)(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Islands_Forum)

1972        The Fijian Alliance won elections by appealing to Indians as well as Fijians.
    (Econ, 4/24/04, p.88)

1977        The largely Indian National Federation Party won elections. It failed to form a government and Ratu Mara was recalled to power.
    (Econ, 4/24/04, p.88)

1980        The 1949 film ďThe Blue Lagoon" was remade with Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins. It was about a boy and girl shipwrecked on an island for several years. It was filmed on the Yasawa Islands of Fiji.
    (SFC, 9/1/96, Par. p.10)

1987        Apr, In Fiji the largely Indian National Federation Party won elections.
    (Econ, 4/24/04, p.88)

1987        May 13, The Fijian army under Col. Sitiveni Rabuka staged the 1st of two coups this and overthrew the countryís first Indian-dominated government. A 2nd coup followed on Sep 28. Sitiveni Rabuka later served as the prime minister (1992-1999). UN peacekeeping operations had caused a 10-ford increase in military size since independence in 1970.
    (SFC, 5/18/99, p.C12)(Econ, 4/24/04, p.88)(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sitiveni_Rabuka)(WSJ, 9/29/07, p.A6)

1990        A racist constitution was drawn up that gave ethnic Fijians a permanent majority of seats in Parliament.
    (Econ, 4/24/04, p.88)

1994        Nov 16, The UN Law of the Sea, ratified in 1993, took effect. Arvid Pardo (d.1999 at 85), Maltese delegate to the UN, proposed in 1967 that the bounty of the sea should be considered "the common heritage of mankind" and asked that some of the sea's wealth be used to bankroll a fund to help close the gap between rich and poor nations. The International Seabed Authority came into existence as the law took effect. The first Secretary-General of the Authority, Satya Nandan (Fiji) was elected in March 1996, and the Authority became fully operational as an autonomous international organization in June 1996, when it took over the premises and facilities in Kingston, Jamaica. The UN Law of the Sea treaty, which extended internationally recognized territorial waters to 200 miles offshore, came into force one year after the sixtieth state, Guyana, signed it.
    (http://tinyurl.com/2wsq9p)(SFC, 7/19/99, p.A22)

1994        Jim Hormel, scion of the Hormel Meat Co., was proposed by the US State Dept. as ambassador to Fiji until it was learned that Fiji had incorporated sodomy statutes into its penal code.
    (SFEM, 6/16/96, BR p.32)

1996        Apr 18, A base at Qana, Lebanon, manned by Fijian UNIFIL troops was shelled by Israel and led to 75 (revised to 106) civilian deaths. A later UN investigation found the remains of 15 Israeli shells that indicated a targeted assault. Israel called the attack an "unfortunate mistake."
    (WSJ, 4/19/96, p.A-1)(SFC, 5/7/96, p.A-8)(AP, 4/18/97)(AP, 7/26/06)

1996        Apr 18, A base manned by Fijian UN troops in Lebanon was shelled by Israel and led to 75 (revised to 91) civilian deaths. A later UN investigation found the remains of 15 Israeli shells that indicated a targeted assault. Israel called the attack an "unfortunate mistake."
    (WSJ, 4/19/96, p.A-1)(SFC, 5/7/96, p.A-8)(AP, 4/18/97)

1997        Fiji drew up a new multi-racial constitution. It took effect in 1998. Under the country's constitution, the council of chiefs was charged with filling nearly half the Senate seats and with appointing the president and vice president. In 2006 military commander Frank Bainimarama seized power and suspended those roles.
    (Econ, 8/14/04, p.40)(AP, 3/14/12)

1998        Jul 27, A new constitution took effect with a bill of rights that replaced a document that barred non-native people from top posts. Indians made up about 46% of the population.
    (SFC, 7/28/98, p.A10)

1999        May 8, Balloting began for a new government.
    (SFC, 5/18/99, p.C12)

1999        May 17, Early ballot results showed the Labor Party, led by Mahendra Chaudhry, leading with 11 seats in the 71 member parliament. The Fijian Political Party of Prime Minister Rabuka had only 6 seats.
    (SFC, 5/18/99, p.C12)

1999        May 18, Mahendra Chaudry was appointed as the first Indian prime minister. His coalition held 52 seats.
    (SFC, 5/19/99, p.A12)

2000        Apr 9, Vijay Singh of Fiji won the US Masters Golf Tournament.
    (WSJ, 4/10/00, p.A24)

2000        May 18, In Fiji 7 men led by George Speight, a Fijian businessman, staged a coup. They stormed the parliament and seized prime minister Chaudhry and 7 cabinet ministers. At the same time a march in Suva by supporters of the nationalist Taukei Movement erupted into rioting. Pres. Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara declared a state of emergency and took command of the military.
    (SFC, 5/19/00, p.A20)(SFC, 5/20/00, p.A8)

2000        May 19, Masked gunmen launched a coup in Fiji that toppled Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, the countryís first ethnic Indian premier.
    (AP, 5/19/01)

2000        May 21, In Fiji 10 junior MPs were released after they signed resignation letters. Prime Minister Chaudhry also agreed to sign a letter of resignation.
    (SFEC, 5/21/00, p.B11)

2000        May 26, In Fiji Pres. Mara fired the elected government and said he would probably grant immunity to coup leaders.
    (SFC, 5/27/00, p.A12)

2000        May 28, Some 200 rebel supporters stormed through Suva and one police officer was killed. The Fiji Television building was rampaged and knocked off the air. George Speight called for the resignation of Pres. Mara and for the constitution to be scrapped.
    (SFC, 5/29/00, p.A11)

2000        May 29, In Fiji Commodore Frank Bainimarama seized power to restore order following the coup. Pres. Mara stepped down from power and retired to Lau.
    (SFC, 5/30/00, p.A12)(Econ, 4/24/04, p.88)

2000        Jun 11, The political crises reduced tourism to 10% and threatened the leading sugar processing and garment manufacturing industries.
    (SFEC, 6/11/00, p.A26)

2000        Jul 4, In Fiji Laisenia Qarase was sworn in as prime minister along with a 19-member all-Fijian temporary government.
    (SFC, 7/4/00, p.A9)

2000        Jul 7, In Fiji supporters of George Speight seized up to 30 hostages at Korovou.
    (SFC, 7/8/00, p.A11)

2000        Jul 9, Rebels signed a deal to return their captives in exchange for an end to the countryís multiracial democracy.
    (SFC, 7/10/00, p.A8)

2000        Jul 12, Coup leaders released the last 18 hostages and ended a standoff that began May 18.
    (SFC, 7/13/00, p.A12)

2000        Jul 13, In Fiji the Great Council of Chiefs elected Ratu Josefa Iloilo as the new president.
    (SFC, 7/14/00, p.A13)

2000        Nov 2, Some 40 soldiers of the Counter Revolutionary Warfare unit attempted to take over the main military base at Suva. 8 people were killed. Most of the renegade soldiers were soon captured.
    (SFC, 11/4/00, p.A14)

2000        Jul 26, George Speight was arrested by the military, which then stormed a stronghold of his followers.
    (SFC, 7/27/00, p.A10)

2000        The population if Fiji this year was about 813,000.
    (SFEC, 6/11/00, p.A26)


2001        Mar 1, The Fiji high court ruled that the military-backed government was illegal and that the 1997 multi-racial constitution remained in effect.
    (SFC, 3/2/01, p.D5)(Econ, 8/14/04, p.40)

2001        Mar 13, Traditional chiefs selected Ratu Josefa Iloilo as president for a 5-year term.
    (SFC, 3/14/01, p.12)

2001        Sep 10, Pres. Iloilo swore in banker Laisenia Qarase as prime minister.
    (SFC, 9/10/01, p.B1)

2002        Jul 3, An oil tanker was reported to have run aground in stormy seas on a reef near Fiji's popular tourist islands, threatening an ecological disaster if the cargo leaks.
    (Reuters, 7/3/02)

2002        Nov 6, In Fiji a military panel convicted 15 elite army soldiers of mutiny for their roles in a deadly shootout at the country's main barracks two years ago.
    (AP, 11/6/02)

2002        The Seacology environmental group agreed to build a community center in the Yasawa Islands of Fiji in exchange for leaving an isle undeveloped for 20 years and a fishing reserve for 10 years.
    (SSFC, 8/4/02, p.A3)

2003        Jan 13, Cyclone Ami as it roared over Fiji and 9 people were killed.
    (AP, 1/15/03)

2003        Oct 11, It was reported that a worsening drought in Fiji has caused thousands of people to lose water supplies, with large parts of Suva receiving water by truck.
    (SSFC, 10/11/03, p.C10)

2004        Apr 18, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara (83), Fiji's first prime minister and a key U.S. ally in the South Pacific during the Cold War, died. The paramount chief of the Lau Islands of eastern Fiji, he was revered for holding together bickering tribes as he welded Fiji into a stable, multiracial nation after 96 years of colonial British rule.
    (AP, 4/19/04)

2006        Apr 4, Wen Jiabao arrived in Fiji as the first Chinese premier to visit the Pacific islands, seeking to deepen China's influence in the region and contain Taiwan's diplomatic clout.
    (AP, 4/4/06)

2006        May 16, Fiji's indigenous-dominated governing party led the Indian-dominated opposition after a second day of general election vote-counting, with voters polarized along racial lines.
    (AP, 5/16/06)

2006        May 17, Fiji's caretaker PM Laisenia Qarase claimed victory in parliamentary elections and said he was committed to improving the South Pacific country's relations between indigenous Fijians and the ethnic Indian minority.
    (AP, 5/17/06)

2006        Oct 27, In Fiji the dysfunctional parliament was dissolved.
    (Econ, 12/9/06, p.50)

2006        Nov 1, Fiji's prime minister insisted that his government would not step down despite pressure from the country's military commander, whose relentless criticism of the administration has raised fears of a possible coup.
    (AP, 11/1/06)

2006        Nov 2, Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon warned Fiji's military commander against a coup after the commander said that the Pacific island nation could be sliding towards "bloodshed."
    (AFP, 11/2/06)

2006        Nov 5, Fiji's military, locked in a standoff with the government, accused Australia on of breaching its sovereignty by sending an unspecified number of police it described as mercenaries into the country.
    (AP, 11/5/06)

2006        Nov 30, Talks to avert a coup in Fiji were deemed "a failure" by the country's military commander, who issued a fresh threat that he will quickly move to replace the government if it doesn't meet his demands. Commodore Frank Bainimarama said that the government had not gone far enough and he set a next day deadline for its capitulation. Bainimarama wants the government to kill legislation that would grant pardons to conspirators in a 2000 coup, and quash two other bills that he says unfairly favor majority indigenous Fijians over the ethnic Indian minority.
    (AP, 11/30/06)

2006        Dec 3, Commodore Frank Bainimarama told Fiji One television that he wants PM Laisenia Qarase to resign so the military can name a new government for the South Pacific island nation.
    (AP, 12/3/06)

2006        Dec 4, In Fiji soldiers moved against at least two police compounds, seizing weapons in the apparent first step toward taking over the South Pacific island nation.
    (AP, 12/4/06)

2006        Dec 5, The military seized control of Fiji after weeks of threats, locking down the capital with armed troops and isolating at home the elected leader whose last-minute pleas for help from foreign forces were rejected. Commodore Frank Bainimarama named Dr. Jona Senilagakali, a military medic with no political experience, as caretaker prime minister and said a full interim government would be appointed next week to see the country through to elections that would restore democracy sometime in the future. PM Laisenia Qarase, who had caved in to all demands, was deposed anyway. Pres. Ratu Josefa Iloilo, refused to rubber-stamp Bainimaramaís ďdoctrine of necessity."  
    (AP, 12/5/06)(Econ, 12/9/06, p.49)

2006        Dec 6, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, the ruler who led a coup against Fiji's elected government, forcibly dissolved the South Pacific island's parliament, installed a new prime minister and warned that he could use force against dissenters.
    (AP, 12/6/06)

2006        Dec 7, Fiji's newly-imposed premier, Jona Senilagakali (77), admitted the army ouster of the elected government was illegal and that elections could be two years away, but said the nation did not need Western-style democracy.
    (AFP, 12/7/06)

2006        Dec 8, The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group announced Fiji is to be immediately suspended from the Commonwealth following a military coup there earlier this week. The Commonwealth of Nations is a successor to the British Empire and brings together some 53 nations, around a third of the world's countries and a quarter of the world's population.
    (AP, 12/8/06)

2006        Dec 10, The military regime announced a crackdown on critics of Fiji's coup, just hours after a house that had become a rallying point for those wanting a return to democracy was ransacked by unknown assailants.
    (AP, 12/10/06)

2006        Dec 11, Fiji's military regime banished ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase from the capital and warned that open opposition to the takeover would be met with force.
    (AP, 12/11/06)

2007        Jun 14, Fiji's military ruler said he was expelling New Zealand's top diplomat, sending already strained relations between the South Pacific nation and one of its biggest neighbors spiraling even lower. Commodore Bainimarama said he had told New Zealand High Commissioner Michael Green to leave because the diplomat would not "stop interfering in Fiji's domestic affairs."
    (AP, 6/14/07)

2007        Sep 6, Fiji's military-led government imposed a monthlong state of emergency, accusing the prime minister who was ousted in a coup last year of seeking to "destabilize" the South Pacific nation.
    (AP, 9/7/07)(Econ, 9/29/07, p.46)

2007        Oct 17,     Fiji's coup leader Voreqe Bainimarama pledged to hold elections in early 2009 as Pacific countries welcomed the move and vowed to continue pressing for progress at a regional summit.
    (AP, 10/17/07)

2008        Jun 18, A European Union delegation met Fiji's coup leader Voreqe Bainimarama, seeking assurances that he will stick to a pledge to hold elections to restore democracy by March 2009.
    (AP, 6/18/08)

2008        Aug 19, The 39th annual Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) opened in Niue. Members at the 2-day forum agreed to threaten Fiji with suspension unless elections are held as scheduled by March 2009.
    (Econ, 8/23/08, p.34)(www.forumsec.org/event.cfm?cmd=list&sd=200808)

2009        Jan 12, Fiji authorities rushed to deliver clean drinking water and other supplies to thousands of villagers who fled flooding from tropical storms. The storms left 11 people dead.
    (AP, 1/12/09)(SSFC, 1/25/09, p.E2)

2009        Jan 27, Pacific Island leaders gathered in Port Moresby and threatened to expel Fiji from their forum if coup leader Frank Bainimarama fails to announce credible plans for elections.
    (Econ, 1/31/09, p.48)(www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2008/s2475598.htm)

2009        Apr 9, A court in coup-plagued Fiji declared the military government illegal and said the president should immediately appoint an interim leader to oversee a return to democracy.
    (AP, 4/9/09)

2009        Apr 10, Fiji's Pres. Ratu Josefa Iloilo (88) suspended the constitution of his troubled South Pacific country and fired the judges who had declared its military government illegal.
    (AP, 4/10/09)(Econ, 4/18/09, p.44)

2009        Apr 15, Fiji's military government tightened controls on the media, devalued the currency by 20% and said it would not tolerate opposition to plans for a sweeping overhaul of the country's politics.
    (AP, 4/15/09)(Econ, 4/18/09, p.44)

2009        May 2, South Pacific nations announced that military-ruled Fiji has been suspended from the 16-nation bloc for its rejection of democracy, freedom and human rights.
    (SFC, 5/2/09, p.A2)

2009        Jul 28, Fijiís self-appointed PM Commodore Frank Bainimarama, who took power in a bloodless 2006 coup, said aged and ailing President Ratu Josefa Iloilo will retire on July 30.
    (AP, 7/28/09)

2009        Aug, In Fiji Laisenia Qarase and Mahendra Chaudhry, rivals to military leader Commodore Bainimarama, joined forces against him.
    (Econ, 11/14/09, p.53)

2009        Sep 1, The 53-nation Commonwealth says it has suspended Fiji automatically after it failed to respond to a demand to begin restoring democracy to the island nation.
    (AP, 9/1/09)

2009        Nov 4, Fijiís military leader Commodore Bainimarama booted out the High Commissioners of Australia and New Zealand. He said they were interfering with his efforts to replaced judges he sacked in April. He said relations would be restored only in 2014.
    (Econ, 11/14/09, p.53)

2009        Dec 14, Cyclone Mick hit Fiji. Thousands of villagers fled to shelters as the tropical cyclone battered the South Pacific nation, causing flooding, damaging homes and power lines, and killing three people.
    (AP, 12/15/09)

2010        Mar 5, Eight Fijian men were sentenced to jail terms of three to seven years for their roles in a 2007 plot to assassinate the armed forces chief Commodore Frank Bainimarama, the island nation's prime minister, who seized power in a bloodless coup in 2006.
    (AP, 3/5/10)

2010        Mar 13, Cyclone Tomas began battering island groups off Fiji's northern coast, causing flooding, pounding seas and one death. Officials said the storm likely would only sideswipe the main islands of the South Pacific nation. At least 2 people were killed by the storm.
    (AP, 3/15/10)(AP, 3/19/10)

2010        Oct, Roko Tevita Uluilakeb Mara, the commander of Fijiís biggest regiment, was suspended and soon fled to Tonga. Mara was the youngest son of founding father Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara. From Tonga he denounced the Fiji government and called for regime change.
    (Econ, 5/21/11, p.43)

2011        Feb 7, Fijiís former President Ratu Josefa Iloilo (91) died. The tribal chief served as president from 2000 to 2009 and backed the 2006 military takeover of the country.
    (AP, 2/17/11)

2011        Mar 26, In a World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) initiative landmarks in thousands of cities, from Sydney Harbor Bridge to the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, turned off the power for Earth Hour, the fifth such event promoting a sustainable future for the planet. The first lights dimmed across Fiji and New Zealand at 8.30 p.m. (3:30 a.m. EDT), to lights being turned on again in Samoa 24 hours later.
    (Reuters, 3/27/11)

2011        Jun 19, In Fiji Agape Ministries leader Rocco Leo, a fugitive Australian cult leader, was picked up by officials, along with two associates, for alleged visa breaches. On May 20, 2010, Australian police raided 12 properties associated with Agape and netted 15 guns, slow-burning fuses, detonators, extendable batons and 35,000 rounds of ammunition.
    (www.religionnewsblog.com/26049/cult-leader-rocco-leo-arrested)(AFP, 6/27/11)

2012        Jan 6, Fiji's government stepped back from a promise of a more open society, imposing new controls on public order just a day before it was supposed to lift more than two years of emergency rule.
    (AP, 1/6/12)

2012        Jan 7, Fijiís military rulers officially lifted a state of martial law in place since 2009.
    (SSFC, 1/8/12, p.A6)

2012        Jan 26, Fijiís secretary of information said that severe flooding and landslides have killed 6 people and left hundreds homeless.
    (SFC, 1/26/12, p.A2)

2012        Mar 9, Kiribati President Anote Tong said that his Cabinet this week endorsed a plan to buy nearly 6,000 acres on Fiji's main island, Viti Levu. He said the fertile land, being sold by a church group for about $9.6 million, could provide an insurance policy for Kiribati's entire population of 103,000, though he hopes it will never be necessary for everyone to leave.
    (AP, 3/9/12)

2012        Mar 14, Fiji's military commander Frank Bainimarama disbanded the Great Council of Chiefs, a leadership tradition on the Pacific island nation since 1875.
    (AP, 3/14/12)

2012        Mar 28, Fiji's military regime said it had seized control of national carrier Air Pacific from Australia's Qantas because it did not want foreigners to own or control Fijian airlines.
    (AFP, 3/28/12)

2012        Mar 30, In Fiji flash flooding cut highways and forced evacuations, with residents sheltering from rising waters on rooftops as authorities scrambled to find rescue boats. The flooding left at least 5 people dead.
    (AFP, 3/30/12)(SFC, 4/4/12, p.A2)

2012        Aug 3, Fijiís former PM Laisenia Qarase (71) was sentenced to one year in prison on corruption charges. Qarase was ousted in a 2006 coup.
    (SFC, 8/4/12, p.A2)

2012        Dec, A report by the Fiji Constitutional Committee (FCC), appointed last July, was completed but promptly suppressed by security forces.
    (Econ, 3/30/13, p.41)

2013        Nov 7, Chinaís Vice Premier Wang Yang said China will provide a concessionary loan of up to $1 billion to Pacific island nations to support construction projects in a part of the world where Beijing and Taiwan compete for influence. He made the announcement at a forum with Pacific island nations in Guangzhou at a meeting attended by representatives from Micronesia, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue and Fiji.
    (Reuters, 11/8/13)

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