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Fiji:
Geography

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Background
Definition
Fiji became independent in 1970, after nearly a century as a British colony. Democratic rule was interrupted by two military coups in 1987, caused by concern over a government perceived as dominated by the Indian community (descendants of contract laborers brought to the islands by the British in the 19th century). The coups and a 1990 constitution that cemented native Melanesian control of Fiji, led to heavy Indian emigration; the population loss resulted in economic difficulties, but ensured that Melanesians became the majority. A new constitution enacted in 1997 was more equitable. Free and peaceful elections in 1999 resulted in a government led by an Indo-Fijian, but a civilian-led coup in May 2000 ushered in a prolonged period of political turmoil. Parliamentary elections held in August 2001 provided Fiji with a democratically elected government led by Prime Minister Laisenia QARASE. Re-elected in May 2006, QARASE was ousted in a December 2006 military coup led by Commodore Voreqe BAINIMARAMA, who initially appointed himself acting president. In January 2007, BAINIMARAMA was appointed interim prime minister.
Location
Definition
Oceania, island group in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand
Geographic coordinates
Definition
18 00 S, 175 00 E
Map references
Definition
Oceania
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 18,270 sq km
land: 18,270 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly smaller than New Jersey
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
1,129 km
Maritime claims
Definition
measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation; rectilinear shelf claim added
Climate
Definition
tropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation
Terrain
Definition
mostly mountains of volcanic origin
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Tomanivi 1,324 m
Natural resources
Definition
timber, fish, gold, copper, offshore oil potential, hydropower
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 10.95%
permanent crops: 4.65%
other: 84.4% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
30 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
28.6 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 0.07 cu km/yr (14%/14%/71%)
per capita: 82 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
cyclonic storms can occur from November to January
Environment - current issues
Definition
deforestation; soil erosion
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
includes 332 islands; approximately 110 are inhabited


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