Fiji is a South Pacific island nation with over 350 islands and islets, approximately
100 of which are inhabited. Most of the population lives on the two major islands,
Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Suva, the capital and largest city is located on the coast
of Viti Levu. The Dutch and the British explored Fiji in the 17th and 18th centuries,
with the first permanent European colonists settling there in the 19th century.
The British conquered the natives and made the islands a colony in 1874. Gaining
independence in 1970, Fiji is one of the most developed economies in the Pacific
basin. Today, the main sources of foreign exchange are its tourist industry and
sugar exports. The country's currency is the Fijian dollar.
As a colony, Fiji used Britain’s coin system of pence and pounds, with Fijian coins
minted with a hole in the middle. Fiji’s first national commemorative gold coin
was in 1980, celebrating ten years of independence.