Fiji, officially the Republic of Fiji is an island country in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,300 miles northeast of New Zealand’s North Island. Among its closest neighbours are Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Tonga and Tuvalu. Fiji is an archipelago of more than 330 islands, of which 110 are permanently inhabited, and more than 500 islets, amounting to a total land area of about 18,300 square kilometres.
Europeans visited Fiji from the 17th century and, after a brief period as an independent kingdom, the British established the Colony of Fiji in 1874. Fiji was a Crown colony until 1970, when it gained independence as a Commonwealth realm. A republic was declared in 1987, following a series of coups d’état.