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A Fijian man dressed in traditional attire.

... settlers moved inland to the Nakauvadra mountains.

Though this oral tradition has not been independently substantiated, the Fijian government officially promotes it, and many tribes today claim to be descended from the children of Lutunasobasoba.

European Discovery (18th Century)
Dutch navigator Abel Tasman was the first known European visitor to Fiji, sighting the northern island of Vanua Levu and the North Taveuni archipelago in 1643.

James Cook, the British navigator, visited one of the southern Lau islands in 1774.

It was not until 1789, however, that the islands were charted and plotted, when William Bligh, the castaway captain of the HMS Bounty, passed Ovalau and sailed between the main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu en route to Batavia, in what is now Indonesia.

Bligh Water, the strait between the two main islands, is named after him, and for a time, the Fiji Islands were known as the Bligh Islands.

The first Europeans to settle among the Fijians were shipwrecked sailors and runaway convicts from Australian penal colonies.

In 1804, the discovery of sandalwood on the southwestern coast of Vanua Levu led to an increase in the number and frequency of Western trading ships visiting Fiji.

A sandalwood rush began in the first few years but it dried up when supplies dropped between 1810 and 1814.

By 1820, the traders returned for beche-de-mer or sea cucumber. In the early 1820s, Levuka was established as the first modern town in Fiji, on the island of Ovalau.



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