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In the first half of the twentieth century, urban centers were dominated by South Asians and Europeans, while Fijians were considered essentially a rural people.Today, however, 40 percent of ethnic Fijians live in cities and towns.
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Naturalized European and part-European communities tend to mingle more closely with ethnic Fijians than with Indo-Fijians.
Most of Fiji's eighteen urban centers are on the two largest islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.
These urban areas are Western rather than Oceanic in appearance, and Suva still retains much of its distinctively British-style colonial architecture, although Asians have influenced the nature of the city and all the ethnic groups trade in the central market.
In the colonial period, there was some residential segregation by ethnicity.
The land area is 7,055 square miles (18,272 square kilometers); Viti Levu and Vanua Levu account for 87 percent of the landmass.
Viti Levu contains the major seaports, airports, roads, schools, and tourist centers, as well as the capital, Suva.Commercial, settler, missionary, and British colonial interests imposed Western ideologies and infrastructures on the native peoples and Asian immigrants that facilitated the operation of a British crown colony.The indigenous name of the islands is Viti, an Austronesian word meaning "east" or "sunrise." Ethnic Fijians call themselves Kai Viti ("the people of Viti") or i Taukei ("the owners of the land").In the next forty years, sixty thousand Indians were shipped to the islands, becoming a class of exploited plantation workers who lived in a world of violence, cut off from their cultural roots.Depressed economic conditions in India caused most of those laborers to remain after their contracts expired, finding work in agriculture, livestock raising, and small business enterprises. Common citizenship, multi-ethnic institutions (some schools, colleges, the police force, civil service, civil aviation authority, etc.), an English-language mass media that caters to a multi-ethnic clientele, national sporting teams that attract intense following, and pride in the beauty and bounty of their oceanic homeland, are some of the factors that help to create a "Fiji Islands" national identity that surmounts the otherwise all-important ethnic affiliations. The principal ethnic groups— Fijians, Indo-Fijians, and people of mixed Euro-Fijian descent—intermingle with ease at the work place, in shops and markets, and in some educational and recreational settings, but interact much less freely at home.Fijian and Hindi often are spoken at home and are used in religious contexts and on radio and television.