Kingdom 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 Ratu Seru Epenisa Cakobau as King.[1][2][3][4][5]

Kingdom of Fiji
Motto: "Rerevaka na Kalou ka Doka na Tui"
"Fear God and honour the King"
Common languagesEnglish
GovernmentConstitutional monarchy
Ratu Seru Epenisa Cakobau
Sydney Charles Burt
George Austin Woods
5 June 1871
 Annexed by the United Kingdom
6 October 1874
CurrencyFijian pound
Succeeded by
Colony of Fiji
Today part ofFiji


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 but never subdued western Fiji. Cakobau controlled most of the eastern parts of the Fijian Islands and declared himself King of Fiji (Self-proclaimed 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 the 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 maneuverings for power between Cakobau and his old rival, Maʻafu, 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,[6] which lasted for almost a century – until 10 October 1970, when the Dominion of Fiji became a fully independent Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Fiji.

See also


  1. "Cakobau: the first (and last) king of Fiji". HistoryExtra. Retrieved 2 September 2022.
  2. "Cakobau, King of Fiji". British Museum. Retrieved 2 September 2022.
  3. Nicole, Robert (15 October 2010). Disturbing History: Resistance in Early Colonial Fiji. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 16–24. ISBN 978-0-8248-6098-1.
  4. Gonschor, Lorenz (30 June 2019). A Power in the World: The Hawaiian Kingdom in Oceania. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 122–127. ISBN 978-0-8248-8001-9.
  5. Spurway, John (23 February 2015). Ma'afu, Prince of Tonga, Chief of Fiji: The life and times of Fiji's first Tui Lau. ANU Press. pp. 311–422. ISBN 978-1-925021-18-9.
  6. Spurway, John (1 June 2004). "'Ma'afu's word is in the hills'". The Journal of Pacific History. 39 (1): 3–21. doi:10.1080/00223340410001684822. ISSN 0022-3344. S2CID 219626108.
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