In 1996 Fijians comprised some 51 per cent of the total population and Indians about 44 per cent. Before the 1987 coup the ethnic Indian population, descended from contract workers brought over to operate the sugar estates, was in a majority (49 per cent). Since 1987 many have left Fiji. Native Fijians, who were a minority in their own country at independence, are mainly of Melanesian stock. The former Indian majority (only 46% of the population by 1991) is descended from field workers brought by the British. Although the Indians are forbidden land ownership, they operate most of the sugar plantations. Although English is the official language, Fijians speak their own language and are primarily Christian (85% Methodist). The Indian population, which is 70% Hindu and 25% Muslim, speak a dialect of Hindi. There are also small Chinese and white minorities. Fiji experiences tensions as a result of its diverse ethnic composition.
Some holdings in the Family History Library collection:
- The Sikhs of Fiji,Singh, Gajraj, 996.11 F2s FHL, Suva, Fiji : South Pacific Social Sciences Association, [1972?]
- Samoans in Fiji : migration, identity and communication, Morgan A. Tuimaleali'ifano
996.11 F2t FHL , [Suva] Fiji : University of the South Pacific, c1990, ISBN/ISSN 9820200199