Stories of the City

Seru Epenisa Cakobau, Chieftain hailing from the island of Bau, granted the Polynesia Company 5000sq km of land, 575sq km of which was near the then village of Suva, in 1868. This was due to his promise to pay off his debt owed to United States, after Fijians stole US Commercial Agent, Consul William’s possessions, when his house burnt down. Apparently, the original loss of goods estimated to ten times less than what the consul demanded in compensation, at the time of his death. And the entire blame was put on the chief, thus him having to borrow a loan from a third party, since he did not know how to handle matters of debt.

The original plan for the land had been to develop a cotton farming industry. However, the climate and land deemed unsuitable.

After the annexation of Fiji by United Kingdom in 1874, Suva was colonized in 1882. The appointment was made when the old capital; Levuka, was deemed geographically restrictive.

After the promulgation of the Municipal Constitution Ordinance of 1909, Suva acquired Municipal Status in 1910. The town initially comprised 1 sq mile, until 1952 when Muanikau and Samabula wards were annexed, expanding its territory to 13 sq km. Suva was then claimed in that year as Fiji’s first capital.

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