Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/601

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


258 AUSTRALASIA AND OCEANIA.

FIJI. Constitution and Government.

Fur was ceded to the Queen by the chiefs and people of Fiji, and the British flag hoisted by Sir Hercules Robinson, on October 10, 1874. The government is administered by a Governor appointed by the Crown, assisted by an Execu- tive Council consisting of the Colonial Secretary, the Attorney-General, the Receiver-General, and the Native Commissioner. Laws are passed by a Legis- lative Council, of which the Governor is president. It comprises six official members, and six unofficial members nominated by the Crown. The official members are the Chief Justice, the Attorney-General, the Receiver-General, the Commissioner of Lands, and the chief medical officer.

Govdiior of Fiji and High Commissioner for the Western Pacific. — Sir G. T. M. O'Brien, K.C.M.G.

The Governor also exercises the functions of Her Majesty's High Com- missioner and Consul-General for the Western Pacitic. He has a salary of 2,200Z. per annum, paid from colonial funds, and 300Z. from Imperial fund.s.

There is no military establishment in the colony, but there is a forc3 of armed native constabulary numbering 100.

For the purposes of native government the colony is divided into 16 provinces, in 12 of which a superior native chief exercises, under the title of Roko Tui of his province, a form of rule which recognises to a large degree the customs and the system of administration by which the people governed them- selves prior to the establishment amongst them of a European form of govern- ment. In three of the provinces there are resident European officers as com- missioners. About 170 native chiefs of inferior degree are employed by the Crown in subordinate administrative capacities, and receive salaries from the Government. There are also 34 native stipendiary magistrates associated with 13 European magistrates in the administration of justice. A European commissioner resides in Rotumah

Area and Population.

Fiji comprises a group of islands lying between 15° and 20° south latitude, and 177° east and 178° west longitude. The islands exceed 200 in number, about SO of which are inhabited. The largest is Viti Levu, with an area of about 4,250 square miles (about the same size as Jamaica) ; the next largest is Yanua Levu, with an area of about 2,600 square miles. The island of Rotumah, lying between 12° and 15° of south latitude, and 175° and 177° of east longitude, was added to the colony of Fiji by authority of Letters Patent in December 1880. Including Rotumah, the total area of the group is 8,045 square miles.

At the census of April 5, 1891, the population of the colony numbered 121,180. The estimated population on December 31, 1897, was 121,798 (67,410 males, and 54,388 females). The Europeans numbered 3,401 (2,116 males, and 1,285 females) ; Indians, 12,025 (8,143 males, and 3,882 females); Fijians, 99,773 (53,208 males, and 46,565 females); Polynesians, Kotumans, half-castes, and others, 6,599 (3,943 males, and 2,656 females).

Among Europeans in 1897 the births were 51 and deaths 30 ; Fijians in 1897, births 3,451, deaths 3,999 ; indentured Indians in 1897, births 424, deaths 254 (registered). Suva, the capital, is on the south coast of Viti Levu ; European population, (estimated) 850.