Accommodating indigenous Privilege: Britain's dilemma in decolonising Fiji

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Although colonial rule was more divisive in Fiji than almost anywhere else in the British empire, the archival record does not support the commonly held view that the British Government willingly perpetuated racial division for a self-governing Fiji. The documents highlight both the officials' desire for radical change and the powerful local constraints against it. By the late 1950s, the British authorities were hoping to move Fiji towards the common franchise, which Indian leaders had long called for to affirm equality among the citizens and promote national integration. Implacable indigenous Fijian resistance persuaded the colonial rulers to agree to preserve predominantly communal representation. The retreat from the plan for radical reform was driven by a fear that to override the opposition of the Fijian leaders would be to jeopardise security and political stability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-156
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Pacific History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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