It is thought that Melanesian sailors battled the oceans in their tiny canoes arriving in the Fijian islands as far back as 5,ooo years BC from somewhere in the African continent.  However, this has yet to be authenticated as there is also some evidence emerging that suggests the original settlers to Fiji may have come from the region of South East Asia and landed on the sun-drenched western coast of the largest island, Viti Levu - meaning, " Big Fiji."


In the earliest of times, even before Europeans came, warring tribes from different parts of the 300 plus Fijian islands fought each other in bloody battles, then cooked and ate the flesh of their foes in cannibalistic rituals.


Warring Polynesian tribes would also sail from the nearby Tongan islands and raid the Fijian villages making off with their women and possessions.


Today, Fiji's original indigenous inhabitants are a mixture of both Melanesian and Polynesian descent yet their culture and lifestyles are uniquely similar - a communal village style existence with a Chief to carry out the function of headman and administrator.


European traders, sailors and mutineers  arrived in Fiji late in the 18th century bringing with them alcohol, firearms and the trappings of western civilisation to entice them to trade valuable sandalwood, while others sought  to gain influence in the region for their colonial masters.


In 1874, Fiji was ceded to Great Britain and became a far-flung colony of the British Empire. Together with European Missionaries, Britain provided a semblance of law and order and heralded an end to the warring tribal factions.


As many of the indigenous Fijians embraced Christianity, their lives changed from cannibalism, witchcraft and tribal warfare to a placid and hospitable people who began to openly share their 'paradise' with peoples from all over the world.


Late in the 1800's, Indian indentured labourers were brought by the British to work the sugarcane plantations.  After a 5 year stint, many of these hard-working people were given an opportunity to make Fiji home and became citizens, helping to build a vibrant, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural nation, making it the envy of many South Pacific nations.


Fijian hospitality has become legendary world-wide and their big booming, "BULA" will follow you wherever you go until it literally becomes a part of your vocabulary.


"BULA" is the first word you will learn, use and hear spoken more than any other word in this amazing island nation and this word will never leave your soul.  It will touch the very core of your being as you feel and experience the warmth of these incredibly generous people who genuinely care for every person who arrives on their shores not only as a guest, but as a friend for life.


It is one of the hallmarks of this idyllic haven of the South Pacific that many overseas families continue to visit year after year enjoying the sun, sea and surf but most of all, the captivating and alluring charm of these enchanting islands and its equally glorious people.

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