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History of Fiji
About Fiji Islands > History of Fiji

History of Fiji

Fiji consists of 300 islands scattered and this archipelago has an abundance of enticing experiences waiting for you. However Northern Travel as its names depict, is tasked to take you to the North.

Whether you choose to relax soaking up the Vanualevu sun, scuba dive at world famous dive locations, surf the reef breaks or bush walk through the abundantly lush tropical rainforests, there is a myriad of ways to enjoy Vanualevu. With a destination so diverse and colorful, it seems only right that the people of Fiji are also so delightful, friendly, natural and fun.

With a heritage influenced by the blend of Melanesian living around Estates in Vanualevu, Polynesian mainly in the Island of Kioa (Buca Bay), Micronesian situated in the Island of Rabi between Taveuni and Vanualevu, Indiana around the Sugar cane belt around Labasa, Chinese and European cultures, the people of Fiji add that little extra bit of magic to an already alluring destination.

History of Vanualevu/ Northern Division

Vanua Levu formerly known as Sandalwood Island is the second largest island of Fiji. Located 64 kilometers to the north of the larger Viti Levu, the island has an area of 5,587.1 km² and a population of some 130,000.

Geologists believe that Vanua Levu is an amalgamation of several islands that melded through successive stages of uplift.

The main part of the island is roughly shaped like a tall, thin triangle 30 to 50 kilometers in width and 180 kilometres in length, rotated so that the point is to the northeast. This point, the northernmost in the Fiji chain, is Udu Point. From the southeastern side of this triangle, a long peninsula stretches out into the Koro Sea. The island is surrounded by coral reefs, and is rough and hilly.

The island is divided horizontally by a rugged mountain range, which forms much of the boundary between the Provinces of Cakaudrove and Macuata.

Vanua Levu's main mountain ranges lie near the windward, southern coasts, making them much wetter. Northern Vanua Levu, by contrast, is dry eight months of the year, enabling sugar cane, the island's major crop, to thrive there.

Vanua Levu has a number of rivers, including the Labasa, the Wailevu, and the Qawa. These three form a delta on which the town of Labasa stands.

The Dutch navigator Abel Tasman was the first known European to sight Vanua Levu, in 1643. He was followed by Captain William Bligh in 1789, en route to Timor while escaping from the Mutiny on the Bounty, in which his crew had forced him and those loyal to him off deck and cast them adrift in a lifeboat.

Traders began exploiting sandalwood thickets in the Bua Bay area around 1805. By 1815, however, the supply had been depleted and apart from the occasional visit from whalers and bĂȘche-de-mer traders, the island received little further attention until 1840, when a young sailor known as Jackson deserted his crew at Somosomo on the nearby island of Taveuni, was adopted by a local Chief, and explored much of eastern and northern Vanua Levu.

Settlers from Australia and New Zealand established coconut plantations in the Savusavu area in the 1860s. Intermarriage with Fijian people produced a mixed-race elite, which also prospered from the sale of copra, of which Savusavu was a major centre. In the same period the town of Labasa was founded and now has become a major sugar-producing centre.

For administrative purposes, Vanua Levu is divided into three Provinces : Bua (in the west), Macuata (in the north-east), and Cakaudrove (in the south-east).

These three provinces also comprise the Northern Division of Fiji. Together with the remote Lau Islands, Vanua Levu and its outliers form the Tovata Confederacy, one of three traditional alliances of Fiji's chiefs. The Paramount Chief, who is based on the nearby island of Taveuni, holds the title of Tui Cakau.

Vanua Levu offers a spectacular coastline, pristine barrier reefs, unexplored mountain trails and traditional villages.

Enjoy breathtaking views from each bure overlooking the spectacular Great Sea Reef, the third longest continuous barrier reef system in the world.

Inside this huge protected north shore bay are small islands and shifting sand and mangrove islets waiting to be explored by you.