With around 37.1 million inhabitants, the population of Oceania is the second smallest among the continents has the smallest population), corresponding to only 0.5% of the world population. Demographic growth is 1.3% per year and the majority of inhabitants live in urban areas: 70%.
In countries like Australia and New Zealand, inhabitants of European descent predominate, especially Britons. The native population, represented by Australian Aborigines and New Zealand Maoris, has been virtually decimated. In other countries, there are still a large number of natives.
As stated on Countryaah, Oceania is formed by 14 countries, which occupy an area of 8,526,462 square kilometers. The demographic density, obtained by dividing the total population by the area, is approximately 4.3 inhabitants per square kilometer, therefore, the continent is sparsely populated.
In addition to being sparsely populated and sparsely populated, another feature of Oceania is the difference in the number of inhabitants between countries. The Australia is home to more than 60% of the continental population with 25,511,888 inhabitants. On the other hand, Nauru, the least populous nation in Oceania, has only 9,976 inhabitants.
Papua New Guinea and New Zealand are other populous countries on the continent, with 6.8 million and 4.3 million inhabitants, respectively. If we add the population of the other 11 countries, we will have a number of less than 2.3 million inhabitants.
Another contrast detected in the population of Oceania is in relation to the level of socioeconomic development. Australia and New Zealand enjoy a high standard, a fact verified in the high Human Development Indexes (HDI) of these nations, with Australia occupying the second place in the world ranking; and New Zealand, the third position. The other countries, with the exception of Tonga, have medium or low HDI.
|Australia||Mount Kosciusko (2228 m asl)|
|Fiji||Tomaniivi (Mount Victoria; on Viti Levu, 1,324 m above sea level )|
|Kiribati||highest measured point (81 masl)|
|Nauru||highest point about 65 meters|
|New Zealand||Mount Cook (3764 m asl)|
|Papua New Guinea||Mount Wilhelm (4,509 masl)|
|Samoa||Silisili (on the island of Savai’i; 1,857 m above sea level)|
|Tonga||unnamed peak on the island of Kao in the Ha’apai Group (1,033 m above sea level)|
|Vanuatu||Mount Tabwemasana (on Espiritu Santo, 1,877 m above sea level)|
Fiji, Republic of the Southwest Pacific, in Melanesia ca. 2000 kilometers northeast of New Zealand. Fiji is an island state with 855 islands and islets spread over 194,000 square kilometers; the land area amounts to 18,274 square kilometers. Neighboring states are Vanuatu in the west, New Caledonia in the southwest, New Zealand in the south, Tonga in the east, Samoa (and the Wallis and Futuna territories) in the northeast, and Tuvalu in the north.
The main islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. The capital is Suva.
Fiji is a multicultural society. Since a coup in 1987, unrest has characterized the country. A democratic election was held in 2014.
Fiji (the name) is a distortion of Melanesian: ‘Viti’, after the island of Viti Levu.
National anthem is ‘ God Bless Fiji ‘ (‘God Bless Fiji’).
Geography and environment
Fiji is the easternmost group of high volcanic islands surrounded by coral eastwards from New Guinea. The two largest islands with most of the population are Viti Levu with the capital Suva and Vanua Levu. Many of the smaller islands are flat coral islands. The highest mountain is Tomanivi, 1323 meters above sea level, on Viti Levu.
The biggest environmental problem is soil erosion due to forest harvesting.
The climate is tropical sea climate with humid heat swallowed by the southeastern pass. The average temperature is 23 degrees in July-August and 27 degrees in January-March; temperatures fluctuate slightly. In the highlands it can get considerably colder.
Average annual rainfall is from 1400 millimeters in the west to more than 5000 millimeters in the east. It rains most from November to April, but rain showers occur throughout the year. Each year, there is an average of one cyclone.
Large parts of the largest islands are covered by rainforest, especially in the southeast. Especially in the east there are mangrove mushrooms. In dry areas there are more scattered forest and grass. More than half of the land area is fertile.
Bats are the only native land mammals. Mangust was introduced to combat introduced rats. There are lost cats, dogs, goats and pigs. About 90 bird species nest around 90. The reefs have a rich fauna including fish, corals and clams.
People and society
About 70 percent of the population lives on Viti Levu and 17 percent on Vanua Levu. 56.8 percent of the inhabitants are of Melanesian-Polynesian origin while 37.5 percent are descendants of Indians. There are small groups of European and Chinese descent and minorities from other Pacific islands. The relationship between ethnic Fijians and Indo-Fijians is tense and characterizes political conditions.
52.5 percent of the population lives in cities and almost 20 percent of the entire population of Suva (2011). 110 islands are inhabited.
Life expectancy at birth is 74.91 years for women and 69.53 years for men (2014). Almost half the population is under 25. Annual population growth is about 0.8 percent (2013).
English, Fijian and Hindu are official languages.
45 percent of the population goes to the Protestant church; most are Methodists. 27.9 percent are Hindus, 19.5 percent are other Christians and 6.3 percent are Muslims.
State and politics
Fiji is a democratic republic. The head of state is a president who is elected for 5 years and can be re-elected once (in 2007, the role of the Tribal Council in presidential elections was suspended). The National Assembly consists of the Senate (32 seats) and the House of Representatives (71 seats).
The constitution was suspended in 2009.
Fiji is divided into four ‘divisions’ (units) with a total of 14 provinces and 1 ‘dependency’ (possession): the island of Rotuma with internal autonomy.
Military service is voluntary; one can enlist from the age of 18. The military forces are divided into land forces and naval forces.
Fiji is a member of the UN, the World Trade Organization and the Pacific Islands Forum.
The first inhabitants came from Southeast Asia long before the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman came to the islands in 1643. The 19th century was marked by tribal wars. In 1871-1873, a vain attempt was made to establish a kingdom. Fiji became a British crown colony in 1874. From the 1880s, the British brought in Indian contract workers for the sugar cane plantations. In 1875-1878, a measles epidemic killed a third of Fiji’s population. Immigration of Indians stopped in 1917.
Fiji gained inner self-government in 1966 and full independence in 1970. Political life has been characterized by great ethnic contradictions between Fijians and Indians. The ethnic conflict was sharpened after the Indian-dominated parties’ election victory in 1987. The military seized power by two coups in 1987. A new constitution in 1990 gave native Melanesians more power and a large portion of the Indian population emigrated. In 1999, general elections were held where all ethnic groups had the right to vote. This led to a government led by a Fiji Indian. The government was ousted through a coup in 2000. A new election in 2001 led to a democratically elected government. A conflict arose between Fiji’s government and the military, triggering a new coup in 2006 and military rule by Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama.
In 2009, the country was suspended from the Commonwealth. In the first Democratic election on September 17, 2014, the party defeated FijiFirst by 59.2 percent of the vote and its leader Voreqe Bainimarama became prime minister.
Economy and business
Due to natural resources, Fiji has one of the Pacific’s most developed economies. Agriculture and fisheries employ about 40 percent of the workforce and contribute about 15 percent of GDP. The most important agricultural products are sugar, coconuts, ginger and rice. Of livestock most poultry, cattle and pigs are kept. More than 80 percent of the land is owned by the Native Land Trust Board under the control of the Fijian chieftains.
There is some forest industry on Viti Levu and gold is also extracted here. Other industries include food processing, clothing and cement production.
The main import products are oil and oil products, machinery and consumables. Main export products are sugar, gold, fish and clothing.
In recent decades, tourism has become increasingly important and today accounts for around 30 percent of GDP and employment.
Tourism and sugar exports are Fiji’s main industries.
Knowledge and culture
There are 6-year elementary school, 4-year secondary school and 2-year high school. All children attend elementary school. Higher education is offered by the University of Southern Queensland, Fiji National University (FIT) and The University of the South Pacific (USP). The language of instruction is English.
Six daily newspapers are published and there are several television stations and radio stations. Newspapers are published in Fijian, English and Hindi.
The earliest Fijian literature was published in the late 1960s, such as Raymond Pillai’s short stories and Pio Manoa’s poetry. Well-known modern authors include Satendra Nandan, Sudesh Mishra and Joseph Veramo.
The earliest music was songs that often told stories that were passed down from generation to generation and accompanied by traditional instruments. Today, songs in Fijian, English and Hindi are popular. The most common musical instruments are guitar, mandolin, ukulele and lalit drum.
Ceremonies and dance play important roles in Fijian tradition.
Weaving is an important art form, and beautiful rugs, baskets, hats and bags, as well as tapestry are made.
Rugby and football are the most popular sports.