Kingdom of Fiji

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Kingdom of Fiji
1871–1874
Flag Coat of arms
Motto
"Rerevaka na Kalou ka Doka na Tui"
"Fear God and honour the King"
Capital Suva
Languages English
Fijian
Government Constitutional monarchy
Monarch
 -  1871–1874 Seru Epenisa Cakobau
Prime Minister
 -  1871–1872 Sydney Charles Burt
 -  1872–1874 George Austin Woods
Historical era Nineteenth century
 -  Independence 5 June 1871
 -  Annexed by the United Kingdom 6 October 1874
Area
 -  1874 18,274 km² (7,056 sq mi)
Population
 -  1874 est. 588,068 
     Density 32.2 /km²  (83.3 /sq mi)
 -  1986 est. 715,375 
     Density 39.1 /km²  (101.4 /sq mi)
Currency Fijian dollar
Calling code +679
Today part of  Fiji

The Kingdom of Fiji, also known as the Kingdom of Viti, was a short-lived monarchy in Fiji. It existed from 1871 to 1874, with Seru Epenisa Cakobau as king.

The Kingdom of Fiji was the first unified Fijian state, and it covered all of modern Fiji, except the island of Rotuma. Cakobau was the Vunivalu (Warlord or Paramount Chief) of the island of Bau. His father, Tanoa Visawaqa, had conquered the Burebasaga Confederacy and subdued much of western Fiji. Cakobau consolidated control of the Fijian Islands and declared himself King of Fiji (Fijian: Tui Viti). This met with opposition from other chiefs, who regarded him as at best first among equals. However, in June 1871, John Bates Thurston, the British honorary consul, persuaded the Fijian chiefs to accept a constitutional monarchy with Cakobau as king, but with real power in the hands of a cabinet and legislature dominated by Australian settlers. The Legislative Assembly met for the first time in Levuka in November 1871.

Within months, government overspending had led to the accumulation of unmanageable debt. In 1872, following continuing economic and social unrest, Thurston approached the British government, at Cakobau's request, with an offer to cede the islands. Two British commissioners were sent to Fiji to investigate the possibility of an annexation. The question was complicated by manoeuvrings for power between Cakobau and his old rival, Ma'afu, with both men vacillating for many months. On 21 March 1874, Cakobau made a final offer, which the British accepted. On 23 September, Sir Hercules Robinson, soon to be appointed the British Governor, arrived on HMS Dido and received Cakobau with a royal 21-gun salute. After some vacillation, Cakobau agreed to renounce his Tui Viti title. On 10 October 1874, Cakobau, Ma'afu, and a group of some senior Chiefs of Fiji signed two copies of a Deed of Cession establishing the Colony of Fiji, which lasted for almost a century.

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